Taking to the high-tech skies
The HondaJet is an advanced light business jet boasting revolutionary technology and design attributes. These are aimed at achieving superior fuel efficiency, more cabin and luggage space, and a higher cruising speed than conventional aircraft in its class.
Among the HondaJet’s extensive list of innovations is its over-the-wing engine-mount configuration, allowing greater use of fuselage space for the cabin and cargo areas. The configuration also reduces cabin noise.
The over-the-wing configuration also exhibits less drag at high speeds than conventional “clean wing” designs, contributing significantly to the HondaJet’s superior performance and fuel efficiency.
A natural-laminar flow (NLF) wing and NLF fuselage nose assist in achieving further reductions in aerodynamic drag at high speeds, together with a high lift coefficient.
The advanced all-composite fuselage structure consists of a unique combination of honeycomb sandwich and stiffened panel structures. It reduces weight for optimal performance and payload capacity, while also simplifying manufacturing processes.
A Honda-customised, all-glass cockpit employing the Garmin G3000 avionics suite will offer HondaJet pilots features and capabilities unique to the aircraft. The HondaJet is powered by two GE HondaHF120 turbofan engines
The HondaJet design and development programme began in 1986, and has been conducted by Honda engineers working in the US and Japan. The prototype jets were constructed by Honda R&D Americas in Greensboro, North Carolina, and all flight tests have been conducted in the US.
Greensboro is also the base of the Honda Aircraft Company, which was established in October 2006 to oversee certification, production and sales of the HondaJet. The testing and certification process has been progressing according to schedule.
Major ground tests including structural proof tests, control-system proof test, system function tests and ground vibration tests were completed in December 2003, and the HondaJet made its first flight in prototype form on 2 December 2003.
The first FAA-conforming HondaJet achieved first flight in December 2010. It recently successfully reached its of a maximum operating altitude of 43 000ft (13 106 m). This accomplishment follows soon after the jet recorded a maximum true air speed of 425 knots (782 km/h) during advanced flight testing.
The Honda Aircraft Company holds orders for well over a 100 of the US $4,5-million HondaJet, with deliveries expected to commence in the third quarter of 2012.