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The Honda HA-420 HondaJet

Country of origin  
Japan and United States of America

Photos  

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Photo © Sergey Riabsev - Russian AviaPhoto Team

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Powerplants  
Two 7.43kN (1670lb) Honda HF-118 turbofans.

Performance  
Max speed 778km/h (420kt). Service ceiling 41,000ft. Range 2037km (1100nm).

Weights  
Max takeoff 4173kg (9200lb).

Dimensions  
Wing span 12.20m (39ft 9in), length 12.50m (41ft 1in), height 4.10m (13ft 2in).

Capacity  
Two crew plus four passengers, or one crew plus five passengers.

Production  
One prototype (early 2004).

Type  
Light corporate jet

History  

The Honda Motor Company Ltd quietly developed a light corporate jet, the HA-420 HondaJet, at its aerospace research facility at Greensboro-Piedmont Triad airport, North Carolina, US. In 1986 Honda began research into compact business jets, using engines from other manufacturers. However, details of this research have never been revealed. From 1999 Honda developed its own turbofan jet engine, the HF-118, which was testflown on a Cessna Citation. This engine features a single fan, a two-stage compressor and a two-stage turbine. The wing shape of the future HondaJet was tested on a Lockheed T-33.

The HA-420 HondaJet made its first flight on December 3 2003. The aircraft will undergo about 200 hours of flight testing to verify its flying characteristics and performance.

A prominent feature of the HondaJet is the over-the-wing engine configuration. Because no carry-through structure is needed in the aft fuselage for the engine mounts, this allows for a full-width cabin farther aft gaining 30% extra space within the same dimensions. Honda also claims that this configuration reduces drag at higher speeds.

The fuselage is made of composite material, a lightweight co-cured carbon composite/honeycomb sandwich, while the wings are made of integrally stiffened skin panels formed from single sheets of aluminum, offering a smoother surface than conventional configurations. The wing uses Honda's proprietary turbulence reducing laminar SMH-1 airfoil, which is rather thick but offers low drag at high speed. Also the nose is designed to generate laminar flow to reduce drag. Honda claims that these features, together with the fuel-efficient HF-118 engines, achieve a 40% higher fuel efficiency. The aircraft is equipped with a Garmin G-1000 glass cockpit with three displays and an integrated avionics system. Four passengers can be accomodated with two crew, or five passengers with a single pilot.

Honda has not yet revealed if and when the HondaJet will be taken into production, but late 2003 there were rumours that Honda is investigating the possibilities to take over an existing US company to facilitate the production of the aircraft.

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The backbone of this section is from the The International Directory of Civil Aircraft by Gerard Frawley and used with permission. To get your own copy of the book click here.