Last updated: 07:00 PM ET, Tue December 15 2015

HondaJet's Latest and Most Advanced Aircraft Set to Soar After FAA Certification

Airlines & Airports | Paul Thompson | December 15, 2015

HondaJet's Latest and Most Advanced Aircraft Set to Soar After FAA Certification

Photos by Paul Thompson

The Federal Aviation Administration has given HondaJet’s HA-420 small business jet type certification, which means Honda can finally start delivering these aircraft to customers.

HondaJet CEO Michimasa Fujino had announced at the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) convention in Las Vegas last month that all flight-testing has been completed and certification was imminent. In spite of being a division of Japanese company Honda, the HondaJet division is based in Greensboro, North Carolina, where all of the jets are assembled.

“Achieving FAA type certification for the HondaJet is a monumental milestone for Honda,” said Fujino. “We established Honda Aircraft as a new aerospace company and introduced our first product — an advanced light jet with technologies developed from serious research activities. We designed, tested and have now certified this clean-sheet design aircraft — an unprecedented challenge for Honda.”

The first prototype HondaJet had its inaugural flight way back in 2003, and the first delivery was scheduled for 2010, but flight-testing proved that the engine — designed in collaboration with GE — needed to be redesigned. The first production aircraft made its debut in 2013 at EAA’s AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Development began in 1986, as a top-secret project within the company, to develop a jet with turboprop efficiency. The HA-420 was tested for over 3,000 hours in flight, at over 70 locations in the United States.

The HA-420 has a unique engine mounting, called an “over-the-wing engine mounting,” or OTWEM, which Honda says allows the plane to achieve greater speed and altitude. Like the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, the HondaJet has a carbon fiber composite fuselage, which is stronger and lighter than aluminum. The plane’s nose and wing leading edges also have natural laminar flow technology. The company says these innovations make the HA-420 “the fastest, most spacious, and most fuel-efficient jet in its class.”

Let’s get down to the details. The HA-420 can cruise at up to 420 knots, and as high as 43,000 feet above sea level. It can take off in under 4,000 feet and land in under 3,000. It can climb at 3,900 feet per minute, and has a range on 1,180 nautical miles with four occupants. It can hold up to five passengers and two crew, depending on the cabin configuration. It has 66 cubic feet of baggage space, combined in two areas in the nose and tail. The plane is 42.6 feet long, with a wingspan of 39.8 feet, with its tail topping out at 14.9 feet high. Inside, the cabin is 17.8 feet long, almost five feet high, and five feet wide. You can have your very own HondaJet HA-420 for a cool $4.5 million.

A recent Honeywell survey shows that up to 9,450 new business jets will be needed within the next decade, worth up to $280 billion, with a significant quarter of those being in the HondaJet’s small cabin class. 


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