Both planes are in development. The D-JET, which graced the cover of our last issue, is expected to reach certification in 2008. Diamond officials call the D-JET a “personal light jet,” as opposed to a Very Light Jet. The single-engine jet is designed for the owner pilot who has about 500-700 hours and now flies a Malibu, Bonanza or Cirrus.
The HondaJet, which is featured in the special section on Very Light Jets beginning on page 29, is expected to hit the market in 2010.
The two jets were among thousands of products reviewed this year by the editors of Popular Science, who narrowed it down to the top 100 innovations of the year. The winners are featured in the December issue.
Here’s what the Popular Science editors had to say about the HondaJet:
“Honda’s first light private jet, to be built in partnership with U.S. aircraft manufacturer Piper, is shaking up the bizjet business. Placing the engines over the wings instead of on the fuselage frees up space for passengers and bags, since the engines’ internal support structures move to the wing. And because the placement of the engines on the wings actually improves airflow, it reduces drag, making the HondaJet faster and more efficient than its competitors: The craft has a top speed of 480 mph and a range of 1,270 miles. $4 million.”
While Honda does have a partnership with Piper, it isn’t in the manufacturing of the jet. Rather, Piper is charged with marketing and servicing the jet.
And here’s their take on the D-JET: “Most small airplanes use propellers and piston engines. Why? Jet engines are expensive, and you need two of them to lift an ordinary business jet off the ground. To make the first private jet able to operate efficiently with only one engine — also saving on maintenance and fuel costs — Diamond created a lightweight, compact and aerodynamically svelte design. It then lowered the maximum altitude to 25,000 feet, which is less demanding on the control, power and safety systems. Expect a lot of jets to follow in the D-JET’s single contrail. $1.4 million.”
Also chosen for the aviation and space category were: the Quintiq and Surrey Satellite Technology TopSat, Lockheed Martin’s F-35 Lightning II, the Elbit Skylark II, an unmanned air vehicle, EADS Barracuda unmanned combat air vehicle, General Electric’s GEnx engine, New Horizons probe to Pluto, Lockheed Martin’s Polecat, Aeroenvironment’s Wasp, a handheld spy plane, and NASA’s solar terrestrial relations observatory.
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