Honda takes to the skies with the production of their first aircraft
“To offer personal mobility in the skies was the dream of Soichiro Honda and the dream of us Honda men… Today is a symbolic day”
– Honda President Takanobu Ito
Since a record recall of cars in 2014, Honda have dramatically recovered. They have recently returned to Formula One as an engine supplier, released a new sports mini car, and have just began demonstrating their first ever aircraft. On Thursday 23rd April, the HondaJet made its maiden flight in Japan, from Sendai to Tokyo, and orders for this uniquely designed business jet are now streaming in.
The project has been running for nearly three decades. Founding president of Honda Aircraft Company, Michimasa Fujino, started designing the jet back in 1986, and has described on several occasions how he was very close to giving up. “I decided not to compare myself to other people. I wanted to make sure I am better than I was yesterday, and I took it step by step”
Manufactured in the US, the HondaJet can reach a top speed of 483mph and fly a maximum range of 1,300 miles. The lightweight body and engines were built from scratch, specifically to increase the aircraft’s fuel efficiency. On first glance, it is obvious that the defining feature of this business jet is the position of the engines, which are found unconventionally above the wings. This has been done to allow for more room in the flight cabin, and for a quieter flight due to the engine noise being shifting away from the fuselage. However, the reason behind the unique shape of the nose is not as practical, as it was inspired by the shape of a high heeled shoe that Fujino came across in Hawaii.
The HondaJet is currently being demonstrated at four airports across Japan (Sendai, Kobe, Konan and Narita International), with plans to take the tour to Switzerland, Britain, France and Belgium. Over 100 orders of the Jet have been made so far, and although no official date has been announced for when they will start shipping, it is expected to begin in just a few months’ time. Our team already have plans set in motion to charter this aircraft when it becomes available.
Header image courtesy of LoadedAaron
First image courtesy of Mark Jones Jr.
Second image courtesy of flightlog
Third image courtesy of Michael Pereckas