The new HA-420 "HondaJet" is a lightweight, entry-level business / VIP jet aircraft brought to fruition by Honda Aircraft Company. The proof-of-concept first flew in 2003 and the HondaJet program was formally launched three years later - culminating in an all-new light jet set to compete with such power players as Cessna of the United States and Embraer of Brazil. The HondaJet was formally introduced in January of 2016, some five years behind its scheduled certification date (originally sometime in 2009-2010). Nevertheless, the smallish jet forms the beginning of what may very well turn out to become a family of light jets handled by the aircraft branch of the Honda Motor Company.
The HondaJet was designed by one-time automotive-turned-aeronautical engineer Michimasa Fujino who currently presides as president of the Honda aircraft section headquartered at Greensboro, North Carolina and employing over 1,200 personnel.
The HondaJet is a technological achievement in its own right, utilizing both proven and all-new aeronautical qualities which, in some key ways, make it a very unique light jet entry. One of its key physical design characteristics is its "over-wing" mounted engine nacelles which were developed with the help of General Electric (GE) from the original Honda HF118 offering. The new powerplant outputs 2,050lb of thrust and the aircraft seats a two of these in individual nacelles atop pylons located at the aft section of each wing mainplane.
The position of these engines was selected with help from Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) which finalized the best placement for the powerplants resulting in reduced high-speed drag and increasing the maximum Lift Coefficient (the natural lift being generated). Their position along the wings also allowed engineers much-needed "elbow room" at the fuselage section, producing a longer, quieter cabin for even the most discerning of VIP guests. The engines themselves promise noise reduction, high-end performance and fuel efficiency at the cost of higher take-off speeds and longer take-off runs. A tricycle undercarriage is featured for ground-running with all of the legs being single-wheeled.
The wings have also been given special attention - constructed of aluminum alloys (as opposed to composites) for maximum airflow efficiency and strength. The tail follows in its aluminum make-up (semi-monocoque construction) and is arranged in a conventional "T-style", helping the horizontal planes clear the resulting engine wash. The low-drag nosecone is a specially-designed assembly promoting sound laminar airflow down the tubular fuselage section and its composite construction saves on weight. Dimensions of the aircraft include an overall length of 42.6 feet, a wingspan of 39.8 feet and a height of 14.10 feet.
The 2 x GE Honda Aero Engines HF120 turbofan units coupled with the aircraft's streamlined, attention-getting design provide a maximum speed reaching 485 miles per hour with 435 mph used in cruising. Ferry range is out to 1,500 miles and a rate-of-climb of 4,000 feet-per-minute is listed along with a service ceiling of 43,000 feet. Maximum Take-Off Weight (MTOW) is about 10,000lb.
Internally, the HondaJet seats a crew of one of two (side-by-side). The cockpit showcases clean lines thanks to three large-area, full-color touchscreen displays as part of the Garmin 3000 avionics fit and each pilot's position is given a control yoke and relatively good views out-of-the-cockpit. The standard passenger arrangement set as two face-to-face seats along a center aisle. An alternate seat arrangement seats a total of six. In either guise, passengers are contained in a luxurious environment complete with high-backed leather seats.
While only a dozen or so HondaJets have been completed to date (2016), the product will surely raise some eyebrows and market interest for the clientele and corporations that can afford the $4.5 million dollar passenger-hauler. The Honda Greensboro manufacturing facilities are set up to support up to twelve in-production forms simultaneously.