Aero Friedrichshafen, the Global Show for General Aviation in Germany next week, an unlikely exhibitor will be attendence. The Honda Aircraft Company, a division of Japanese automaker, Honda will be represented and talking about their first-ever commercial aircraft, the HondaJet.
As reported by John Keller in Avionics Intelligence earlier this week, “the business aviation community is preparing for a new light jet aircraft entry this year, with the expected type and production certification of the eight-seat HondaJet aircraft, which is designed to be fast, high-flying, quiet, and fuel-efficient.” With gas prices rising in the U.S., fuel-efficiency is a growing concern for drivers and flyers alike. In the business aircraft industry, fuel surcharges are a significant portion of our flight quotes. The hybrid and electric car movement is gaining popularity this spring as the U.S. gets ready to celebrate another Earth Day on April 22nd. It is good to see similar carbon footprint concerns rolling into the business aviation industry.
Honda’s entry into aircraft production joins a lineage of automakers with aviation interests. BMW for instance, grew out of aircraft engine manufacturing firm, Rapp Motorenwerke in 1917. The BMW logo, as many know, originally represented rotating propeller blades. Swedish car maker, Saab, was also ‘born from jets’ as their tagline implies. Honda, known for its advancements in engineering and innovation in robotics, is underscored as ‘the power of dreams’ - something that regularly exists above the clouds.
Competing with the the Embraer Phenom 300, Cessna Citation CJ3, and Learjet 24, the HondaJet is designed for the light business jet market. It will seat two crew members and up to six passengers. The HondaJet can also take off and land on short, 4,000 foot runways. This attribute may even improve airport options for business aviators, by adding to the list of accessible takeoff and landing pads like in the mountains of Aspen or atolls in the Caribbean. Certification by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) this year will signal the start of commercial production of the general aviation light business jet, according to Keller. Expected delivery of the first production HondaJet is by the end of 2012.