OSHKOSH, WIS. - Honda today announced plans to enter the innovative HondaJet in the growing very light jet market, with the process of accepting sales orders expected to begin in the U.S. in fall 2006. Toward this goal, Honda will establish a new U.S. company to hold FAA type certification and production certification. Honda's goal is to complete type certification in about 3-4 years, followed by the start of production in the U.S.
Making the announcement at the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) AirVenture 2006, the world's largest annual aviation gathering, Honda also revealed plans to form a business alliance with Piper Aircraft, Inc. to collaborate on sales and service, and to explore opportunities in engineering and other areas within general and business aviation.
Honda and Piper 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. No specific details regarding additional collaboration were announced.
"Aviation has been an important dream of Honda for more than four decades," said Satoshi Toshida, senior managing director of Honda Motor Co., Ltd. "Our goal is consistent with the philosophy of other Honda products -- to provide convenient and efficient transportation that will make people's lives better. We are excited now to enter a new dimension of mobility."
"In Piper we believe we have a partner we can collaborate with in our effort to bring new value to customers in the very light jet market," said Toshida.
"Honda is a company with a rich heritage of bringing high quality, innovative products to market," said James K. Bass, president and CEO of Piper Aircraft, Inc. "This business alliance is a perfect fit given the commitment both Piper and Honda have to providing our respective customers with world class products and services. Piper is very excited about this alliance and the way it complements our vision for the future."
HondaJet features several innovations that help it achieve far better fuel efficiency, larger cabin and luggage space and higher cruise speed than conventional aircraft in its class. The announcement to commercialize HondaJet comes one year after the plane made its world public debut at EAA AirVenture 2005 in Oshkosh, Wis.
The result of 20 years of aviation research, key HondaJet innovations include a patented over-the-wing engine-mount configuration, a natural-laminar flow (NLF) wing and fuselage nose, and an advanced all-composite fuselage structure.
"We want to create new value within the aviation market through the unique new design of HondaJet," said Michimasa Fujino, HondaJet project leader and vice president of Honda R&D Americas, Inc. "Our goal is to deliver three key attributes - performance, quality and comfort - beyond what people currently expect from light business jets."
HondaJet's NLF wing and NLF fuselage nose were developed through extensive analyses and wind-tunnel testing. These designs help HondaJet achieve low drag. HondaJet's patented over-the-wing engine-mount configuration helps eliminate the need for a structure to mount the engines to the rear fuselage, maximizing space in the fuselage for passengers and luggage. Further, by determining the optimal position for the engines, the over-the-wing mount actually reduces drag at high speed to improve fuel efficiency.
The advanced all-composite fuselage structure consists of a combination of honeycomb sandwich structure and co-cured stiffened panels. It was developed to reduce weight and manufacturing costs. This aircraft is also outfitted with a state-of-the-art allglass flight deck with an integrated avionics system that displays all information digitally on a high resolution flat display, and also has an autopilot function.
To date the prototype six-to-seven seat HondaJet has completed more than 240 hours of flight-testing since December 2003. So far, the prototype HondaJet has achieved an altitude of 43,000 feet and a speed of 412 knots and is on course to meet or exceed all of its design specifications.
Piper Aircraft, Inc., headquartered in Vero Beach, Fla., is the only general aviation manufacturer to offer a complete line of aircraft for every general aviation mission, from trainers and high-performance aircraft for personal and business use to turbine-powered business aircraft. In its 70-year history, Piper has produced more than 144,000 aircraft and developed more than 180 different models. Piper covers the global marketplace with 80 sales and service centers worldwide.
Honda is one of the world's leading producers of mobility products including its diverse line-up of automobiles, motorcycles and ATVs, power products, marine engines and personal watercraft. Honda is the world's preeminent engine-maker, with annual worldwide production of more than 20 million engines. On a global basis, Honda has more than 130 manufacturing facilities in 29 nations.
Honda began operations in North America in 1959 with the establishment of American Honda Motor Co., Inc., Honda's first overseas subsidiary. Honda began assembling motorcycles in America in 1979, with U.S. automobile manufacturing starting in 1982. Honda now employs more than 28,000 Americans in the design, manufacture and marketing of its products in America. Honda currently builds products in 13 manufacturing plants in North America, with three major R&D centers in the U.S.