HondaJet Completes Maiden Certification Flight

Nancy Anderson
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Honda’s website for the aircraft does a good job of explaining the technologies that have gone into the construction of the airframe. It’s all-composite body structure is not new -- Scaled Composites make extensive use of composite materials in all of their aircraft -- but this marks the first time a commercially available jet aircraft will be produced in quantity using composite construction techniques. The lighter, stronger fuselage allows for increased fuel economy due to its decreased weight, while increasing available interior volume over traditional skin-over-skeleton construction for the same exterior dimensions.

Honda also designed the wing airfoils, their integral-panel construction, and the turbofan engines in-house. All of the technologies incorporated into the HondaJet are geared toward efficiency and reliability in the smaller aircraft segment. The engine nacelles are also located above the wing, which we’ve previously outlined as being able to provide benefit by reducing the aircraft’s acoustic signature to people on the ground below.

The project began in 1997, with sketches created by Honda Aircraft Company’s President and CEO Michimasa Fujino. The HondaJet website has an interactive timeline that showcases the important milestones that have brought them to the flight testing of 5 completed airframes. Construction on their production facility in Greenboro, NC, is nearing completion, and is expected to produce the HondaJet aircraft starting in late 2011.

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Mike Wrightly is mostly diesel fumes and duct tape; he grew up around heavy equipment, and holds a Bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering.

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