By on April 1, 2011

All Japanese car companies need a little good news to cheer them up. Honda has reason to smile a little. Honda’s business jet in Greensboro, NC, is a step further to production. Honda says its first FAA-conforming HondaJet light business jet achieved a maximum speed of 489 mph at 30,000 ft. and a maximum Mach number of 0.72 above 30,000 ft.  This exceeds Honda’s performance commitment of 483 mph for the production HondaJet.

Flight testing of theHondaJet is taking place at Honda Aircraft Company’s headquarters in Greensboro, NC.

Honda is building a 263,400 sqft factory in Greensboro and expects to start production in 2012. According to The Nikkei [sub], they already have more than 100 orders for the fastest Honda ever built.

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

41 Comments on “Born From Cars...”


  • avatar
    tparkit

    Totally cool. Even has cupholders. Much pix on the web – here are some:

    http://www.airliners.net/photo/Honda-Motor-Company/Honda-HA-420-HondaJet/0925641/L/

    http://www.motortrend.com/photo_gallery/112_0703_hondajet_gallery/photo_02.html

    (But how did they keep the Acura stylists away from it?)

  • avatar
    BlueEr03

    “maximum speed of 489 mph at 30,000 ft. and a maximum Mach number of 0.72 above 30,000 ft”
    So the VTec kicks in at 30,000ft?  That is less lag than a normal Honda engine.

  • avatar
    JMII

    VTEC? ;)
    Are the engines mounted that way to reduce vibrations / noise in the cabin? Unique arrangement for sure.

    • 0 avatar

      It makes the cross-section closer to area-rule, as I understand. And yes, less noise. But then you need a bugger rudder to meet certification requirements for one-engine flight.
       
      What I would love to see is Cirrus SF50 with Honda engine instead of that Williams garbage, kind of like Saturn VUE with Honda engine.

    • 0 avatar
      dastanley

      Centerline thrust is WAY easier to handle in a V1 cut (engine loss on takeoff at rotation) vs. wing mounted engines.  Better have rudder boost or some serious leg muscles.  Luckily for me, the CRJ and ERJ (Canadair Regional Jet and Embrair Regional Jet) had tail mounted engines.  The BE1900 (a big King Air) turboprop was/is a b!tch on V1 cuts until the windmilling prop is feathered.  Thank god for rudderboost on the 1900.

    • 0 avatar

      What about the short-body Dash-8?

    • 0 avatar
      dastanley

      What about the short-body Dash-8?

      Funny you ask.  I never flew the dash but it was at the regional airline I flew for, the 200 series.  We used to call the pilots dash trash :-).  They in turn called us beech bitches.  The ERJs were called jungle jets (Embrair – from Brazil, get it?), and the CRJs scope jets or scab cabs for union related controversial reasons.  The dash, as I’m sure you know, has large props, large rudder, and auto-feather on engine shutdown or failure.  But, again, I never flew it so I don’t know how V1 cuts are in that thing.

  • avatar
    obbop

    NHTSA will never allow it.
     
    That pointy thing upon the foc’sle can impale pedestrians.

  • avatar
    mcs

    I wonder if there are any plans to sell the engine housings as optional exhaust tips for the Civic? Never mind, they’re too small.

  • avatar
    KitaIkki

    Born from bikes (motorcycles)

  • avatar
    johnny ro

    Needs fart cans.

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      Don’t forget blue tinted landing lights! I’d suggest a large park bench sized spoiler in the back, but it looks like they’ve already taken care of that detail.

  • avatar

    the opposite of the Saab story.
    Of course, a lot of early car factories had been sewing machine factories. Or bicycle factories. Or both. And gun factories got mixed up in there as well.
    Anyway, Obbop is right about that needle thingy. Otherwise, a miniature of this flying contraption would make a good hood ornament.

  • avatar
    PartsUnknown

    So much more bloated than the last generation HondaJet.  Honda has totally lost its way.  Sad really.

  • avatar
    JT

    Interesting stuff:
    1) Engines are GE turbines
    2) High-mount engines allow better aero wing function and reduce noise “footprint” on ground.
    3) Cockpit is full glass-panel with touch-screen, multi-function displays.
    4) Honda says they hold more than 100 orders for the craft @ approx. $4.5 million per. They anticipate beginning production by the end of next year.

    • 0 avatar
      jaje

      Actually – IIRC the HF120 is actually an in house Honda design but they are built in cooperation with GE.
       
      http://hondajet.honda.com/designinnovations/turbofanengine.aspx?bhcp=1

    • 0 avatar

      Glass is nothing special these days. I flew a check-out in a full-glass LSA yesterday. But I’m wondering how many Honda are going to sell. At 5 million it’s reasonably cheap (it about slots between Citation Mustang and CJ1). They may be able to take these 100 orders in 3 years of production, once deliveries start.

    • 0 avatar
      dastanley

      Glass cockpits came into their own in the 80s.  The CRJ/ERJ is glass with one or two FMSs.  The BE1900 still has steam gauges.  The PC-12/45 Pilatus is a hybrid of steam and glass.

    • 0 avatar
      dastanley

      Whenever I do an air ambulance run to Denver (Tac-Air) and Salt Lake City (Millionaire), the FBO that we park at has advertisements on this jet.  I’ve seen ads for this thing for the last three years.  I generally have not paid attention – my priorities are to find the restroom, food, and a place to sit and catch a nap while the med crews go off in the ground ambulance with their patient.

  • avatar
    hubcap

    I’d have more fun flying this that I would driving any car.
    Think of the possibilities.
     

  • avatar
    ceipower

    I’m not  all that impressed. It’s been my understanding that the  current head of Honda is a jet plane junkie, and that’s the only reason Honda is in this game. Are Corporate jets that big a deal?  Isn’t this a good example of a vehicle manufacturer veering way off course to satisfy one persons infatuation?  Meanwhile Honda has managed to introduce a Hybrid car that can’t compete with the Prius , along with a string of Butt ugly Acuras. IT’s my opinion that the entire organization has suffered just to allow this jet project to go forward. The bean counters can’t justify  the billions this jet project has spent with no return, so they make up the difference by cost cutting all their profitable products to the point that it’s evident Honda no longer sees or acts as if if core products (Cars,Motorcycles,Power Equipment) are anything more than a cash cow to milk while the head of Honda plays with his jet plane(s). The organization Mr. Honda built has been slowing slipping away thanks to current policies & leadership. The products and the people no longer set the  standard that had once been known as “the Honda Way.”

    • 0 avatar
      jaje

      This VLJ is designed not only for corporate fleets but also for taxi type service between smaller airports.

    • 0 avatar
      M 1

      All your points are true, and are basically the Dark Side of the blindly-applauded Japanese way.

    • 0 avatar
      KitaIkki

      The “obsession” with aircraft started with Honda’s founder.  This project has been ongoing for decades.  It long predates the current leadership/management.

    • 0 avatar
      Silvy_nonsense

      Honda’s short-sighted foray in to “automobiles” is simply sucking engineering resources away from it’s core motorcycle operations. Mark my words, their focus on so-called “engineering challenges” is great, but this automobile thing is a short-lived fad that won’t amount to anything. The downfall of a great motorcycle manufacturer is imminent.
       
      Honda needs to stick to what it knows: motorcycles, small engines, marine engines, generators, robots, solar cells, personal water craft, lawn mowers, garden equipment, automobiles and light trucks. Adding one more product is clearly going to break the company.
       
      Next thing you know, there’s going to do something ridiculous like building a championship-winning race car engine!

    • 0 avatar
      Educator(of teachers)Dan

      @Silvy_nonesense, I know you’re being a wiseguy but replace Honda with Suzuki in a few of your sentances and you’ve got the truth.  (I’m saying this as a guy who likes the Suzuki cars that the company has designed and engineered on their own but can’t figure out how they’re gonna survive.) 

    • 0 avatar
      KitaIkki

      @EducatorDan
      Suzuki may be a minor player in the US car market, but it’s a different story overseas.  They are huge in India, for example.

  • avatar
    MarcKyle64

    I think Honda missed the boat, as the up and coming trend in business jets are single-engined very light jets.  They typically have seating for four to six. Some claim one pound of fuel per nautical mile at cruising altitude, which is VERY efficient. Modern day jet engines are so reliable that you don’t need the redundancy of a second engine except for those transoceanic flights which the Honda doesn’t have the range for.

    • 0 avatar
      zeus01

      “I think Honda missed the boat, as the up and coming trend in business jets are single-engined very light jets….

      …Modern day jet engines are so reliable that you don’t need the redundancy of a second engine except for those transoceanic flights which the Honda doesn’t have the range for.”

      Missed the boat? As a full-time AME and sometimes pilot I have to disagree. The “trend” may well be single-engine VLJs, kinda like the trend at the big three in the 70s was fake-wood side-panels on station wagons. But I digress.

       As unlikely as an engine failure in modern turbine aircraft engines may be, they do happen. And with a single engine aircraft that has delicate landing gear and high stall speed this only has to happen once. And when it does the interest adds up fast: the interest of the NTSB, the interest of the FAA, the interest of the passengers and crew, the interest of their families, the interest of the media, the interest of the insurance companies, the interest of lawyers….

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      Single engine jets like the PiperJet Altaire that run about 2.5 million. Cooperative ownership can make it even cheaper. I think the market is bigger than most people think. Commercial air travel is getting more difficult and driving has its problems, so private aviation is getting to be a more attractive option. I think building a small jet makes much better business sense than building a million dollar+ supercar like certain other auto manufacturers.

      @zeus01: You’re right. I forgot about the higher stall speed in jets.

    • 0 avatar
      hubcap

      “I think Honda missed the boat…”

      I wouldn’t go that far. Some people prefer two engines others prefer one. The King Air is still selling despite great single engine competitors such as the TBM 850 and Pilatus PC 12.

      For some having two “turning and burning” is the preferred way. In any case I really don’t think Honda missed the mark but if it’s my dollars I’ll take the Socata or Pilatus over most of the VLJ’s.

    • 0 avatar
      dastanley

      Currently, I fly the PC-12/45 Pilatus in air ambulance.  After having flown twins for years, jets and props, the Pilatus does feel a little bit disconcerting at times only having one engine.  With twins, my 6 month checkrides concentrated on engine out procedures and making it back to the airport in IMC with only one engine.  With the PC-12, the goal is to glide to the nearest suitable airport or flat surface (try THAT in CO) with NO engine.  The best glide to distance ratio at max gross T/O weight is 115 kts.  And if you’ve already sucked up the gear when you lose the engine, you better hope your battery has enough juice to get that gear down and locked (three green, no red) or start pumping the alt gear down handle.

    • 0 avatar

      PT-6 can fail, no doubt. I heard about someone ditching a PC-12 near Kamchatka enroute from Japan to Alaska. But as Richard L. Collins said, statistically you are better off flying a King Air without a multi rating than flying a Baron with one: the fatality rate bringing a twin in on one engine are higher than the rate of PT-6 failures. So it’s all relative, and people who fly on business have figured it out. That’s one reason why PC-12 is so popular.

    • 0 avatar
      dastanley

      PT-6 can fail, no doubt.

      Oh absolutely.  The PT6A-67B/D used in the PC-12 and BE1900 can and has failed.  The wish was to have an “engine out story” to tell in an interview with a major airline.  It was almost a sure way to get on with a large air carrier.  So, for us former Beech 1900 pilots, we hoped for a “safe” engine out emergency.  For me?  No such luck.  I had nearly everything else on the Beech break, but never lost or blew up an engine.  In the CRJ, I did have the #2 engine start to vibrate pretty badly, to the point where we considered shutting down in flight and landing at the nearest suitable airport.  We made it back home with the #1 at 100% thrust and #2 at about 50% or so (and rudder trim dialed in). The vibration gauge for #2 was in the yellow, getting close to red.  Red would have meant mandatory shutdown.  I got bitched out by maintenance and the chief pilot for “tearing up” one of his airplanes.  WTF!?

  • avatar

    We forgot the most important question: does it have a porty?

    • 0 avatar
      Dimwit

      Yes it does. As for the engine design, don’t forget about NVH. Twins are generally much quieter than singles. A lot of these will be bought by back seat drivers who appreciate a nice calm cabin, not Chuck Yeagers who would obsess over performance at all costs.

      I think that this thng is going to sell like gangbusters.

  • avatar
    zeus01

    “Some people prefer two engines others prefer one. The King Air is still selling despite great single engine competitors such as the TBM 850 and Pilatus PC 12. For some having two “turning and burning” is the preferred way. In any case I really don’t think Honda missed the mark but if it’s my dollars I’ll take the Socata or Pilatus over most of the VLJ’s.”

    Agreed. As long as most of Honda’s competition in the VLJ category sells only single-engine jets Honda will have no problem selling their twin-engine jets to that large portion of VLJ buyers who want the extra insurance against the rather negative consequences of an engine failure.

    As for the Pilatus or Socata, I personally would probably choose one of these (in spite of the added risk) if the purchase and operating costs were considerably less than that of the Honda jet. The jet would be faster of course. But, considering the short-range flights that private jets and turboprops are typically used for, if I could eliminate one en-route fuel stop with the PC-12 vs. the Honda jet the higher speed of the jet would be rendered a moot point.


Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Subscribe without commenting

Recent Comments

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Authors

  • Brendan McAleer, Canada
  • Marcelo De Vasconcellos, Brazil
  • Matthias Gasnier, Australia
  • J & J Sutherland, Canada
  • Tycho de Feyter, China
  • W. Christian 'Mental' Ward, Abu Dhabi
  • Mark Stevenson, Canada
  • Faisal Ali Khan, India