By on December 23, 2010

If there ever will be a sequel to jet-gate (original brought to you by Brian Ross, yeah, that Brian Ross), Honda has a get-out-of-jail-free card. They just call it a proficiency flight.

Honda sees a great future in the business jet market. Their wholly owned U.S. subsidiary Honda Aircraft Co. has successfully completed the first flight of the production version of its HondaJet business aircraft, reports The Nikkei [sub].

The light business jet landed all in one piece after a 50 minute flight. After a series if other test flights, Honda will seek the FAA certification needed to sell the jet in the U.S.

Honda already has pre-orders for more than 100 of the $4.5 million aircraft that seats seven or eight people.

Honda is building a factory in Greensboro, North Carolina. First deliveries are expected in the second half of 2012.

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18 Comments on “Honda Jets: Born From Cars...”


  • avatar
    HerrKaLeun

    I hope they install better cockpits than in the civic… a digital speedometer would be very annoying in a plane that gets accelerated and decelerated by wind constantly.
     
    Knowing that Honda typically is reliable, I would feel safe in it. But do they have experience in aviation since that is their first plane to sell?

  • avatar
    John R

    First, I think this is neat. Yet I am still somewhat annoyed. A private jet developed from the ground up, but no rear wheel driven Acura.

    • 0 avatar
      Zackman

      John, it’s profits! If that many people actually cared about which wheels drove the car, you’d see more RWD vehicles, but FWD with the drivetrain all in one chunk makes it easier to assemble on the line, and it must be that much more efficient, or the auto makers wouldn’t have done it in the first place! Or something like that…

    • 0 avatar
      jaje

      The shorter the distance you transfer power the less parasitic loss.  For instance, front engine FWD (today’s bread & butter eco cars) / or rear engine RWD (911) are usually more efficient (lower loss of hp) as they transfer the power to the wheels that are closest to the engine.  Front engine RWD is usually slightly less efficient, and front engine AWD loses the most as you transfer power to 4 wheels instead of 2.

    • 0 avatar
      Invisible

      Since we are talking powertrain losses.  When you change the transmission of power from a longitudinal orientation to a transverse orientation, you see a big hit in the loss.   All Front engine RWD vehicles  have this loss.  Some FWD/engines do also.  Audi uses longitudinal engine layout and requires transferse transfer as you wish.

  • avatar
    SherbornSean

    I read so many diatribes about how the beancounters destroyed the American auto industry — if only those lousy accountants that run the show would let the engineers do what was right, we’d have a glorious auto industry.
     
    Well, whatever you might say about the Acura beak, the gutless CR-Z and the too-big Accord, Honda remains a company willing to take a flyer on ideas that could only come from boneheaded engineers.
     
    God bless Honda.

  • avatar
    twotone

    Will they give me one as a loner when my Accord is in the shop?

  • avatar

    I’m so used to seeing the nacelles mounted to the fuselage, this design weirds me out a little.
     
    I feel like they’re going to go microphonic like an ungrounded pickup cover or unpotted pickup, crack themselves off those little mini-struts, fall to earth and land on a Lambo dealership, destroying several d0uchebags in the resulting conflagration.

    • 0 avatar

      Mounting them on the wings like that has two advantages.
       
      One is noise, this jet will be a lot quieter in the cabin that jets with the engines on the fuselage
       
      The second is size. Not having the engines on the fuselage allows for more interior cabin space (the honda jet is actually quite spacious for its size).
       

  • avatar

    At 4.5m HondaJet slots just abouve Mustang (Cessna Citation Mustang, not Ford Mustang, of course) and competes with the likes of Embraer Phenom. Certainly the issues of lasting support have to be resolved, but if Piaggio can support, sure Honda should be able too. It all sounds almost too sensible.

    In case anyone thinks that a 4.5 million jet is too expensive, remember that well-appointed Pilatus PC-12 can be had for about 5 million.

    • 0 avatar
      redliner

      I was just about to say that. 4.5 seems very reasonable. In addition, Honda claims that by mounting their engines over the wings, the HondaJet is more efficient than the competitors, while still providing a competitive cruise speed and service ceiling.
       
      Its kinda funny, Honda can’t get anyone to give a sideways glance at the Acura brand, and yet CEO types are lining up to buy a Honda. Good thing they didn’t call it the AcuraJet, rght?

  • avatar
    TrailerTrash

    Mr Schmitt…
    Nice story.
    I have read lot’s about these new “commuter” jets.
    They are a bargain considering what they will most certainly be used for…the NEW sky taxi.
    They are going to become so popular, airports are worried about their growth.

    If I am correct, you MUST be allowed to land at airports. The gates are another story, but airlines are disturbed at the possibility of these “taxis” becoming worse than birds.

  • avatar
    Thinx

    Pedantically, shouldn’t it be “Born from Motorbikes”?  IIRC, the first officially Honda-branded product was the Cub motorbike.

  • avatar

    Honda definitely has an intriguing offering in the HondaJet. It may not prove to be a game-changer in the market per se, but I think it will still be a very strong competitor to other light jets from Cessna and Embraer.
     
    I spoke with Honda Aircraft’s Stephen Keeney at the 2008 National Business Aviation Association conference. The video below has some more details about the ideas behind the plane, and why Honda made the design decisions it did. Back then, the estimated pricetag was $3.9 million and certification was expected by the end of 2010. Given the state of the global economy since then, I’m impressed the program hasn’t slipped more than it has.
     
    Different by Design: A HondaJet Update
     

  • avatar
    Mark out West

    Honda’s too late to the game – the entire personal jet market is saturated and one of the most aerodynamically advanced models just went BK – Ed Swearingen’s SJ-30.  Beech, Cessna and Embraer have a lock due to their already in-place service and support.  Once Honda figures out the true cost of this buildout they’ll quietly shelve the project as “research”.

    The last time someone from Japan tried this was Mitsubishi and their MU-2. Another quirky design (dinky, highly loaded wing with full-span flaps and spoilers for roll control), it was blazingly fast and built like a brick you-know-what. A few hundred still ply the skies with many a happy owner behind the yoke, and Mitsubishi still provides product support, even though production ended in the 1980s.


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