There are few things in aviation today that can truly claim the
adjective of "Unique." Much of aviation is derived from concepts,
designs or planforms that we've seen before... unless you find
yourself considering the HondaJet.
The HondaJet is an advanced, lightweight, business jet featuring
an extra large cabin, high fuel efficiency, and high cruise speed
compared to existing small business jets. To achieve the
high-performance goals, an over-the-wing engine-mount
configuration, a natural-laminar-flow wing, and a
natural-laminar-flow fuselage nose were developed through extensive
analyses and wind-tunnel tests. The wing is metal, having an
integral, machined skin to achieve the smooth upper surface
required for natural laminar flow.
The fuselage is constructed entirely of composites; the
stiffened panels and the Sandwich panels are co-cured integrally in
an autoclave to reduce weight and cost. The prototype aircraft has
been designed and fabricated. Major ground tests such as structural
proof tests, control-system proof test, system function tests, and
ground-vibration tests have been completed. The first flight was
conducted on 3 December 2003, and flight testing is currently
If that is not enough, one also has to be impressed with the
fact that this revolutionary jet design will be powered by an all
new jet powerplant currently under parallel development. GE Honda
Aero Engines' HF120 engine has demonstrated more than 2,100 pounds
of thrust while exceeding ambitious fuel efficiency and durability
targets, as of Oshkosh 2008. Testing and rebuilds of full turbofan
engines have been underway at Honda's Aircraft Engine RD Center in
Japan for about a year, verifying the engine design's operability,
thermal characteristics and component efficiencies.
The GE Honda HF120 engine was launched in 2006 on the HondaJet
advanced light jet and Spectrum Aeronautical "Freedom" business
jet, with service entry for both aircraft scheduled in 2010. By
service entry, the HF120 is expected to have accumulated more than
15,000 hours of ground and flight testing.
Honda established the recently created Honda Aircraft Company to
oversee development, construction, and sales of its $3.65-million,
six-seat VLJ. The company expects first deliveries by 2010, with
average sales of about 70 planes per year.