Honda added its HondaJet to the very light jet market July 25, making the not-unexpected announcement at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh.
What was surprising was an announcement by Honda and Piper Aircraft of a new business alliance which will collaborate on sales and service and “explore opportunities in engineering and other areas within general and business aviation,” said Satoshi Toshida, senior managing director of Honda Motor Co.
Honda plans to establish a new company to hold FAA type and production certificates for the HondaJet, which was developed in North Carolina. The airplane will be built in the United States, he said, but added that no site has been chosen yet.
Toshida and James Bass, Piper president and CEO, both spoke about the Honda-Piper alliance, but gave few details. Toshida said that the collaboration will “provide a new level of sales and service to meet the needs of jet customers with the goal of setting a higher standard for the quality of the ownership experience,” but did not elaborate except to state that Honda has taken no equity stake in Piper.
Certification of the HondaJet is expected “three to four years after application,” said Michimasa Fujino, who led the HondaJet development project and is vice president of Honda R&D Americas, Inc., the company set up to create the prototype.
“Our goal is to deliver…performance, quality and comfort beyond what people currently expect from light business jets,” he told the large crowd gathered in the Honda pavilion at Oshkosh.
The distinctive HondaJet features engines mounted on pylons rising from the wings, natural laminar flow wing and nose surfaces, and an advanced, all-composite fuselage, all of which “reduce drag at high speed to improve fuel efficiency,” Fujino said. The prototype also is fitted with an all-glass cockpit, whose avionics system displays its information digitally on high-resolution flat panels.
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