Honda Jet makes its European Debut
The revolutionary Honda Business jet made its European debut recently at EBACE in Geneva. The Hondajet is in its final stages of certification flight testing, with final FAA approval expected within the next few months.
Being built at Hondajet's new purpose built Greensboro Headquarters in North Carolina, the current order list is already over 100 jets.
The brainchild of its designer Michimasa Fujino, the jet's origins can be traced back to 1986. Fujino having joined Honda after graduating from Tokyo University in 1984 was assigned to a small Honda team working on experimental airplane as part of Honda's R&D division. Uprooted from Tokyo, he moved to Starkville in Mississippi, where he worked from a drafty aircraft hanger while the Honda team worked on the experimental aircraft. In 1996 Honda decided that the project was not going to produce the anticapted breakthrough technogies that they had hoped for, so made the decision to close the project.
Fujino returned to Tokyo where he and the development team were reassigned to other projects, however his time the USA had convinced him that a market existed for a quick, fuel-efficient plane, and one that could provide ample cabin and baggage space.
The idea of minimising air flows around the wings and engines by combining air flows lead to the design breakthrough that saw the engines being mounted above the wing. This, combined with its long sloping nose, gave the aerodynamic efficiencies he had been seeking. It also gave the jet is unique look.
In 1997, Fujino presented his ideas to the Honda board, eventually winning their approval for the project. Key milestones were the establishment of the Greensboro facility in 2000, the first flight of the development aircraft in 2003, and the decision by Honda to produce the jet in 2006.
18 years after its conception, Fujinio's vision is almost ready for delivery to its first customer.