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XPONENTIAL Innovation Preview -- www.allthingsunmanned.com

Wed, Oct 18, 2006

Honda Now Taking Orders For The HondaJet

Sets Price At $3.65 Million

Big news from Honda at NBAA. The company says it's now accepting orders for its unconventional HondaJet. It's set pricing at $3.65 million and plans to begin production by 2010.

President and CEO of Honda Motor Company Takeo Fukui said the company has also applied with the FAA for a type certificate.

Fukui said, "A passion for aviation propelled HondaJet into the air, but a strong business case is what is taking it to the customer. In every one of our business activities, our goal is to create new value for the customer. HondaJet meets this challenging objective."

Honda claims 420 knots cruise and an 1120 nm IFR range with up to 35% better fuel efficiency than other jets in the class. Other features include a fully enclosed lavatory and a 57 cubic foot aft cargo hold. The standard jet seats 7 -- two pilots and 5 pax. Air taxi versions will have six forward-facing passenger seats.

Honda plans 5 regional sales groups in the US with 14 sales offices. As was announced at AirVenture this year, Honda developed its dealer network in collaboration with Piper Aircraft. The ultimate goal is to have a factory service facility within a 90-minute flight of anywhere in the US.

  "Just as we have targeted real innovation with HondaJet design itself, we are equally committed to creating an innovative sales and service network," said Michimasa Fujino, president & CEO of Honda Aircraft Company, Inc. "We will be working with our retail partners to ensure that every HondaJet customer is the recipient of unprecedented levels of sales and service for the life of their ownership experience."

The HondaJet incorporates a number of unique design features such as its over-the-wing engine mounting. That element liberates fuselage space ordinarily lost to carry-through structures supporting fuselage mounted engines.

Honda chose an all-composite material fuselage structure. It says the part honeycomb, part stiffened panel construction technique makes the fuselage lighter without sacrificing strength.

Honda says we can expect the now de rigueur glass cockpit fed by a Garmin avionics suite. The company says it's asked Garmin to make the system unique for the HondaJet -- knowing Honda, we're sure to see some interesting features.

The two HF120 engines are the result of a joint GE-Honda venture. Each produces 1880 lbs thrust and, according to Honda, the most efficient, lowest emission and quietest operation in its thrust class.

Honda aims to start US production in 2010 with a planned volume of 70 jets per year, but that schedule is tentative based on sales.

FMI: www.hondajet.com

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