By on May 21, 2013

Honda’s jet was supposed to be commercially available in 2012, and then in 2013, but it will be another wait of another year. The FAA certification of Honda’s small business jet is delayed until late next year, “due to a minor issue in the certification procedure, which has since been resolved,” says Reuters.

“There was a minor issue in the process of the engine approval, but the fundamental design of the jet is not being swayed by this,” Honda spokesman Shigeki Endo told Reuters.

Like Boeing’s grounded (and recently released) 787 Dreamliner, the HondaJet also uses a lithium-ion battery in its jet, but the delay in approval has nothing to do with its battery system, Endo said.

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30 Comments on “Honda’s Jet Is Delayed...”

  • avatar

    It’s an impressive light jet, not quite groundbreaking except in its over the wing engine mounting.I fear that the long delay in its already long gestation might cause it to lag behind the competition even further.

    Honda, I believe, needs this to be a Pilot level seller (no pun intended) in terms of these types of airplanes. The Embraer Phenom appears to be the Accord level seller in this class, followed by the Beech Premier and the Cessna Citation Mustang. This is just my observation from what I see on the general aviation ramps I’m on. I would think it can’t afford it to sell at the airplane equivalent of Ridgeline.

    Sales for all of these generally owner flown jets are slow because the financial crisis hurt many of the people who might have bought these 2-5 million dollar aircraft.

    This is more of Honda re-imagining the light jet versus reinventing. The star crossed Eclipse 500 got here first to basically create the class, although its problems(money problems, founder ousted, company bankrupted to liquidation) have foreshadowed some of the debacle of Tesla .

    It will be interesting to see how it does. The overwing engines do free up much space for people and cargo and it is a bit faster and more efficient than the competition.

    • 0 avatar

      What “debacle” of Tesla are we talking about here?

      BTW, the first 550 rolled out of a hangar across from Cutter FBO at ABQ.

      • 0 avatar

        Sorry, poor choice of words or maybe I’m thinking of the wrong debacle. There’s been so many recently, real or imagined. Just saying that there are some comparisons to be drawn between being an upstart in aviation and in the auto industry. When the Eclipse was first rolled out, it was off target in the speed, range and price department.

        Many people cancelled orders for the 500, founder departed and company eventually was Chapter 7 liquidated. The pieces were bought now are producing the plane that should have come to light in the first place(now the 550).

  • avatar

    We used to say in the car biz there’s a “time to shoot the engineers and start shipping product”

    But I think aircraft are a bit different.

    • 0 avatar

      Kind of, but aircraft manufacturers still ship out slightly new designs/ideas and let the operators figure out if it will work. The referenced 787 is a good example of this. Airplanes haven’t changed nearly as rapidly as automobiles did from the mid-50’s to now, they more or less evolved. When you put new things in play, you can expect some issues. It’s just that with an airplane, there’s no pulling over to figure it out.

  • avatar

    It might get me kicked off this site, but I can’t help but think that it makes whole lot more sense to sell to the 1% (maybe .01%) something like this vehicle that can go 450+mph than most supercars.

    No idea how much more hairy it is to get a license to fly the thing over a basic single engine prop, but I bet most will hire a pilot.

    • 0 avatar

      The problem with this proposition is the need for expensive maintenance and compliance of a jet with all the hot area inspections etc. Supercars do not need 1 million dropped on them every year just so they remain legal to drive. Some people both need and can afford the practicality of a jet over that of a supercar. This especially becomes true for extremely wealthy who can buy a 3000 nm range jet which can cross oceans (as far as I understand, HondaJet is not the one, buying one is more like buying BMW 335 of jets).

    • 0 avatar

      You know, there was an article the other day about “bespoke” luxury cars where I wanted to make a similar point.

      Luxury cars had always been about aristocracy having the fastest, most lavish and convenient private means of travel available. With aviation in its infancy and for European-scale travel they made sense. But since at least the 1960’s and particularly for American (and now Asian) scales of travel, that role has been increasingly assumed by private aircraft.

      Ground vehicles are for merely local convenience and peasants.

    • 0 avatar

      You still need a ride to and from the airport – unless it’s a helicopter, but those are decidedly un-luxurious in the NVH department.

    • 0 avatar

      Many wealthy people do have jets, but not their own. Fractional jet ownership started catching on before the financial collapse. Buying 25% of a $3 million jet still isn’t for the faint of heart or checkbook, but it’s more affordable and much less intense than buying the plane outright.

      And of course, you don’t have to buy new, you can do the same with an older plane too. Still, any jet that can whisk you from NYC to Florida or something like that will still be a 500k to 1 million deal. As Pete said, it’s not the ownership, it’s the maintenance and upkeep that’s expensive. An old jet might have a lower asking price, but it’s going to be much more expensive to keep. And then there’s jet fuel averaging $6/gal and rising (a co-worker told me it was $8.70/gal at ATL). Most small jets burn 1000 lbs. an hour (about 150 gal/hr.) during cruise.

      Many folks that do own their own jet will lease them back to a broker to be used for charter work. In theory, the plane can make money for you while you aren’t using it.

  • avatar

    Damn Honda recalls!

  • avatar
    Rod Panhard

    Honda’s problem with the jet has been “paralysis by analysis.” I wish them well.

  • avatar

    @ gearhead 77: how many of those Phenoms are operated by charter or fractionals? Both Phenom 100 and 300 have become the darlings of many of the larger fleet buyers. That isn’t to say that they are not nice or good airplanes, because they are (among bizjets, being tagged a fleet queen doesn’t have near the same negative connotation as with cars), but that can exaggerate the sales numbers dramatically. The Mitsubishi Diamond Jet/Beechjet 400a/Hawker 400XP and Cessna Citation XL are also extremely popular with the fleet operators. If you remove those, I’m not sure how the sale numbers would stack up. The Premier was never a big seller but like its bigger Hawker 4000 brother, it was a pretty ambitious project for Hawker Beech, and as we now see since both planes are discontinued and no longer supported, a bit too much for that company to handle. The Citation Mustang seems to sell pretty well, but to my knowledge, none of the big US fleet operators have picked them up.

    @wumpus – This plane fits in a category that sees a mix of both owner pilots and owners who hire professional pilots. The jet is designed to be flown by a single person. if you wanted to be truly reckless, technically the only license I think you’ll need in addition to a standard private pilot license to fly a Hondajet is a multi engine rating, which you could actually train for in the aircraft. There have been people who have transitioned directly from single engine pistons to multi engined jets but their learning curve is steep. Realistically, you’ll want an instrument rating (since you’ll never be able to use the jets performance without it), your multi engine rating, and plenty of sim time. You will also be asked to have a copilot for a certain number of hours before they let you fly it single pilot. Most of this is not necessarily required by the FAA, but by insurance companies. I once knew a pilot who took off in his CJ single pilot even though his insurance wouldn’t cover him. His reasoning was, if he crashed the plane, it wouldn’t matter if he had insurance or not at that point.

    @Pete Zaitcev – sorry for being nit picky, but fyi depending on how you want to define “crossing oceans”, you’ll need a bit more than 3000nm to comfortably get from New England to Europe both ways without stopping. Eastbound is relatively easily, but westbound the headwinds will likely necessitate a fuel stop if your plane doesn’t hit at least 3300-3400nm. Even then, that’s not anywhere near what these planes are capable of. I can think of at least 15 purpose built (ie not based on an airliner) bizjets currently available that exceed transatlantic range, with the current king of the hill, the $65million Gulfstream G650 able to fly 7000nm at .85 mach, 6000nm at .9 mach, and 5000 nm at its MMO of .925 mach. Among jets, the Hondajet is one of the smallest you can buy, although its 425kt speed is faster than anything else in its class, which are all below 400 kts (and as slow as 340 in the aforementioned Citation Mustang), and rivals the several categories larger Cessna Citation CJ3. It’s hard to call an airplane the (inset car name here) of planes or vice versa because one big difference between cars and airplanes is that planes generally, but not always, get faster as they get bigger, especially within an individual manufacturers lineup.

    • 0 avatar

      tjh, the Wiki for the Phenom lists Flight Options as the only commercial operator of the Phenom 300 in the US. Looks like about 400 in operation around the world between the 100 and 300. Of course, this might not be a complete list. I’m sure there’s a fair amount in private ownership. Quest Diagnostics has a few, but since they are operated for them, by them, they aren’t considered commercially operated.

    • 0 avatar

      G650 is way outside of what we’re talking in relation to supercars. It’s more like a superyacht. “The rich” form a pyramid of wealth that tapers just as sharply as the one for me and you.

  • avatar

    Surely Honda must be the envy of the automotive world with respect to this bold venture. I would venture to say that Toyota is the only other automotive brand that could harness the engineering gusto to pull this venture off.

    Its an interesting topic. While VW is off building million dollar Veyrons, Honda is demonstrating pure engineering excellence. What has the greater Halo effect?

    Would you fly in a jet designed, engineered, and built by:
    – Volkswagen
    – Ford
    – GM
    – Jaguar.. lol… that is just plain cruel

    • 0 avatar

      Way back when, I believe Toyota showed off a turboprop engine based on the Lexus V8.

      Of course, spending X amount of time, money and engineers on a jet only means that much fewer resources available to work on the Civic or Accord. God knows, Acura needs all the help it can get.

    • 0 avatar

      All it takes is money. To hire and fund the engineers, buy the testing equipment etc., etc.

      It’s not like the same guys build the Civic and the Jet. In America, this style of conglomerates just haven’t been fashionable for some time. Instead, companies are supposed to focus on “Core Expertise.”

  • avatar

    Yes, but does it have VTEC?

  • avatar

    When Honda started this project they made a big point of declaring that they were not just building an airplane but a whole new way of building airplanes, one that took account of a lot of the efficiencies learned in the auto-trade. If they have stuck to this plan it is understandable that the initial model will take longer to produce than planned. This is because they don’t want to just get the plane right but the whole system right. If anything the system is more important than the first model. Remember the first Honda cars to hit North American shores? Not great cars, but because they (and Toyota too) had a better manufacturing system, they relentlessly ground everyone else into the mud as their products improved and they moved up from category to category. If you are a traditional plane maker in the general aviation market, you should be very worried about your future.

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