The HondaJet made its Oshkosh debut this year, staying at the air show for just three hours. But during those three hours, the jet was surrounded by crowds and even toured by FAA Administrator Marion Blakey.
Built in North Carolina, the jet has been kept under a veil of secrecy for the past few years. The company denied it existed for most of that time. When it was rolled out and flown late last year, it was shrugged off by Honda as strictly a technology exercise and a test-bed for the company’s HF-118 fanjet engine, also described as experimental until Honda made a deal with GE to develop it. Now, Chairman Takeo Fukui is saying that Honda just might certify the airplane.
The HondaJet is innovative in many ways, although its most distinctive feature – engines mounted on pylons above the wings – is nothing new. That configuration appeared in 1971 on the world’s first regional jet, the 44-passenger VFW-Fokker 614.