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THE HondaJet is one of the coolest Hondas in the world. With a little more than a decade in development, this light business jet is in its final stages of certification by the Federal Aviation Administration. Its manufacturer, Honda Aircraft Company, Greensboro, North Carolina, is a wholly owned subsidiary of Honda Motor Company.
Honda began studying the light business jet market in the late 1980s. Its MH02 was built with cooperation of Mississippi State University’s Raspet Flight Research Laboratory.
The MH02 first flew in 1993. Among its innovative features were its high-mounted engines and all-composite structure, the world’s first light business jet of this material.
Never intended for production, the MH02 eventually resided in the Honda Collection Hall, part of the company’s Twin Ring Motegi complex. (I’ve sat in the MH02’s cockpit there, about 100 miles north of Tokyo.)
An evolution of the MH02, the HondaJet, is nearing production. This aircraft made its public debut at the EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, in July 2005. Plans for production were confirmed a year later, with a marketing partnership with Piper Aircraft.
The HondaJet’s over-the-wing engine placement allows for more space within the fuselage, reduces drag and isolates engine noise and vibration from the cabin. Its fuselage is fabricated of carbon fiber. Its wings and tail components are metal.
According to Honda, lightweight materials, aerodynamics and efficient engines give the HondaJet as much as a 35-percent advantage in fuel efficiency compared with characteristics of other light business jets.
The aircraft can be configured for five or six passengers, with Hondaesque touches such as movable seat location. It is being certified for operation by one or two pilots. A full Garmin G3000 glass cockpit is featured.
The HondaJet has a maximum speed of 483 mph and is capable of cruising at this speed at a flight level of 30,000 ft. with a range of 2185 miles.
Certification of a new aircraft is a complex process at many levels. Airframes are subjected to static testing on the ground; others are flight-tested under a variety of conditions. Several delays of the HondaJet were based on eliminating engine susceptibility to ice damage.
Throughout 2013, significant milestones brought the aircraft closer to full certification. On December 20, 2013, the HondaJet achieved FAA Type Inspection Authorization, an important step in the full certification process. (See http://goo.gl/uf2nNn for an overview of the entire process.)
Honda is evidently confident of the HondaJet’s capabilities. Check out the marketing messages at http://goo.gl/vMuBWx. To cite a Honda slogan, these certainly show the Power of Dreams. ds
© Dennis Simanaitis, SimanaitisSays.com, 2014