OSHKOSH, Wis., July 25 /PRNewswire/ -- Honda today announced plans to enter the innovative HondaJet in the growing very light jet market, with the process of accepting sales orders expected to begin in the U.S. in fall 2006. Toward this goal, Honda will establish a new U.S. company to hold FAA type certification and production certification. Honda's goal is to complete type certification in about 3-4 years, followed by the start of production in the United States.
Making the announcement at the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) AirVenture 2006, the world's largest annual aviation gathering, Honda also revealed plans to form a business alliance with Piper Aircraft, Inc. to collaborate on sales and service, and to explore opportunities in engineering and other areas within general and business aviation.
Honda and Piper will provide a new level of sales and service to meet the needs of jet customers with the goal of setting a higher standard for the quality of the ownership experience. No specific details regarding additional collaboration were announced.
"Aviation has been an important dream of Honda for more than four decades," said Satoshi Toshida, senior managing director of Honda Motor Co., Ltd. "Our goal is consistent with the philosophy of other Honda products -- to provide convenient and efficient transportation that will make people's lives better. We are excited now to enter a new dimension of mobility."
HondaJet features several innovations that help it achieve far better fuel efficiency, larger cabin and luggage space and higher cruise speed than conventional aircraft in its class. The announcement to commercialize HondaJet comes one year after the plane made its world public debut at EAA AirVenture 2005 in Oshkosh, Wis.
The result of 20 years of aviation research, key HondaJet innovations include a patented over-the-wing engine-mount configuration, a natural-laminar flow (NLF) wing and fuselage nose, and an advanced all-composite fuselage structure.
"We want to create new value within the aviation market through the unique new design of HondaJet," said Michimasa Fujino, HondaJet project leader and vice president of Honda R&D Americas, Inc. "Our goal is to deliver three key attributes -- performance, quality and comfort -- beyond what people currently expect from light business jets."
HondaJet's NLF wing and NLF fuselage nose were developed through extensive analyses and wind-tunnel testing. These designs help HondaJet achieve low drag. HondaJet's patented over-the-wing engine-mount configuration helps eliminate the need for a structure to mount the engines to the rear fuselage, maximizing space in the fuselage for passengers and luggage. Further, by determining the optimal position for the engines, the over-the-wing mount actually reduces drag at high speed to improve fuel efficiency.
The advanced all-composite fuselage structure consists of a combination of honeycomb sandwich structure and co-cured stiffened panels. It was developed to reduce weight and manufacturing costs. This aircraft is also outfitted with a state-of-the-art all-glass flight deck with an integrated avionics system that displays all information digitally on a high resolution flat display, and also has an autopilot function.
To date the prototype six-to-seven seat HondaJet has completed more than 240 hours of flight-testing since December 2003. So far, the prototype HondaJet has achieved an altitude of 43,000 feet and a speed of 412 knots and is on course to meet or exceed all of its design specifications.
The company said it will set up a new U.S. company to hold FAA type certification and production certification for its HondaJet.
Announcement made as EBACE opens in Geneva