Honda HA-420 HondaJet

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HA-420 HondaJet
HondaJet Ryabtsev.jpg
Role Business jet
Very light jet
National origin Japan
United States
Manufacturer Honda Aircraft Company[1]
First flight December 3, 2003
Status In production
Produced December 2015–present
Number built 130 (Aug 2019)[2]
Program cost $1 billion (estimated)[3]
Unit cost
US$5.28 million (Elite, 2019)[4]

The Honda HA-420 HondaJet is the first aircraft developed by the Honda Aircraft Company. It is a twin-engine, seven-seat light business jet, and is also considered as a very light jet.[5] It was designed in Japan in the late 1990s then developed and manufactured in Greensboro, North Carolina, United States.[6] Its first flight took place in 2003 and deliveries commenced in December 2015.


Honda began to study small sized business jets in the late 1980s, using engines from other manufacturers. The Honda SHM-1/MH01 turboprop tested laminar flow wings,[7] and the Honda MH02 was fabricated and assembled at Mississippi State University's Raspet Flight Research Laboratory in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The MH02 was a prototype using carbon fiber/epoxy composite materials and was the first all-composite light business jet to fly.[8] Flight testing on the MH02 continued through 1996, after which the aircraft was shipped to Japan.

Designer and company founder Michimasa Fujino sketched the HondaJet in 1997, and the concept was locked in 1999. Testing in the Boeing windtunnel indicated a valid concept in 1999.[7][9]

A proof-of-concept (but not production-ready) version of the HondaJet first flew on December 3, 2003, at Piedmont Triad International Airport in Greensboro, North Carolina.[10] Honda approved commercial development of the HondaJet in 2004.[11] The HondaJet made its world debut on July 28, 2005, at the annual EAA AirVenture Oshkosh airshow.[12] At the following year's Airventure, Honda announced that it would commercialize the HondaJet.[13]

The first FAA-conforming (built to Federal Aviation Administration rules) HondaJet achieved its first flight on 20 December 2010.[14] The first flight of the first production HondaJet occurred on June 27, 2014,[15][16][17] and it was displayed at that year's AirVenture on 28 July.[18][19][20] Four HondaJets had test-flown 2,500 hours as of 2015.[21]

After the commercialization of the HondaJet HA-420 was announced by Honda in 2006, the first delivery was planned for 2010.[22] In Spring 2009, it was delayed by a year.[23] In May 2010, the projected certification date was late 2012.[24] The program was incrementally delayed several more times.[25]

The HondaJet was awarded a "Provisional Type Certificate“ from the FAA in March 2015. This enabled continued production[26][27][28] and demonstration flights, including a HondaJet tour in Japan and Europe in 2015.[29] The aircraft received its FAA type certificate in December 2015[30][31][32] in Mexico in March 2016[33] and received its European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) type certificate in May 2016[34] The HondaJet was also certified in Canada (June 2017),[35][36] Brazil (August 2017),[37], Argentina (April 2018),[38], Panama (April 2018),[38] India (October 2018),[39], Japan (December 2018)[40] and China (August 2019).[2]


HondaJet formation

The production aircraft are built at Piedmont Triad International Airport. Construction of the factory began in 2007 and was completed in late 2011.[41][42] In early 2015, there were 12 aircraft in final assembly and five more in earlier stages of production.[28] Twenty aircraft were in production by May 2015. Honda estimated it would produce 40 aircraft in the first full year and up to 60 each year after that.[29] The engine factory achieved certification in March 2015.[28][43]

Honda delivered the first customer aircraft on December 23, 2015, at its world headquarters in Greensboro, North Carolina.[44] The first delivery of a HondaJet to a European aircraft dealer took place in April 2016.[45] About 20% of the approximately 100 aircraft on order are destined for European customers as reported in April 2016.[46]

Honda plans to ramp up production to 80 units per year after March 2019. Sixteen aircraft were delivered in the first three quarters of 2016, reaching a 36 per year production rate.[47] In 2017, 15 were produced in the first quarter, and the annual target is between 55 and 60 aircraft.[48] HondaJet finished 2017 as the year's most delivered business jet in its category with 43 aircraft delivered around the globe.[49]

HondaJet Elite[edit]

After the jet was certified in December 2015, Honda engineers started to work on the improved HondaJet Elite, with an expanded performance envelope, improved interior and updated flight deck. Range is increased by 214 to 1,437 nmi (396 to 2,661 km) with an auxiliary fuel tank and aerodynamic improvements. The horizontal stabilizer tips are extended slightly and hinge gaps tightened up, allowing energized flow over the stabilizer without its vortex generators. The type certificate was amended by the FAA on 2 May 2018, and soon followed by EASA.[50]

In May 2018, 30 months after the introduction, the $5.2 million (as of 2018) HondaJet Elite was revealed before delivery began in August. Its elevator authority is increased to reduce its takeoff roll by 400 ft (120 m), reducing the Cessna Citation M2's range and take-off advantages. A new engine inlet reduces vibration and cabin noise, the lavatory receives a belted seat allowing a fifth passenger even with a galley and the Garmin G3000-based flight deck gets computed take-off distance and stability/angle of attack protection.[51]

Its payload is increased by over 200 lb (91 kg): 107 pounds (49 kg) from the empty weight reduction and 100 pounds (45 kg) from an increased maximum takeoff weight while 16 US gal (61 l) more of fuel tank fill unused space in the aft fuselage.[52] Honda began deliveries on August 7, 2018.[53] The upgrades are retrofitable for $250,000, including software updates and a 45 kg (100 lb) MTOW increase and take-off run reduction by 135 m (443 ft) to 1,064m thanks to a few inches span extension of the horizontal tailplane, removal of wing fences and vortex generators.[54] At a weight of 9,500 lb (4,300 kg) and ISA+3°C, the HondaJet Elite cruises at Mach 0.676 or 390 kn (720 km/h) TAS, while burning 570 lb (260 kg) per hour, better than book predictions.[55]


Rear view of the aircraft, highlighting the overwing podded engine configuration

The HondaJet is a low-wing monoplane; it has a mainly composite fuselage and an aluminium wing. The aircraft is powered by two GE Honda Aero Engines HF120 turbofans mounted on pylons above the wing. It has a retractable tricycle landing gear with both main and nose landing gear single-wheeled.

The HondaJet's overwing engine mount configuration was designed to maximize cabin space,[7] and achieve lower wave drag at a high Mach number. The nose and wing are designed for laminar flow, and the main fuselage has a constant profile, making an eventual stretch easier. The combination of engine placement, wing and fuselage was achieved using computer simulations and wind tunnels.[9][56] Honda claims that the combination of lightweight materials, aerodynamics and efficient engines gives the HondaJet up to 20% better fuel efficiency than similar aircraft.[57] When cruising at 43,000 feet, the jet is said to consume just 339 litres (89.5 gallons) of fuel per hour.[58]

Honda began developing its own small turbofan engine, the HF118, in 1999. This led to the HF120, developed with GE Aviation under the GE-Honda partnership. The HF120 was test-flown on a Cessna Citation CJ1.[59] The engine features a single fan, a two-stage compressor and a two-stage turbine. The GE Honda HF120 received FAA type certification on 13 December 2013,[60] and production certification in 2015.[28][43]

Interior of the HondaJet

The interior dimensions are 5.43 m (17.80 ft) long, 1.52 m (5.00 ft) wide, and 1.47 m (4.83 ft) high, while the cabin is 12.1 ft (3.7 m) long besides the enclosed lavatory.[61] Total interior volume is 324 cu ft (9.2 m3), and luggage capacity is 66 cu ft (1.9 m3).[62] Cabin volume is 228 cu ft (6.5 m3).[63][unreliable source?][promotional source?]

Garmin 3000 Avionics for the HA-420

The aircraft is equipped with a touchscreen 3-display Garmin G3000[41] glass cockpit system. Most of the cockpit readouts are presented on flat-panel displays.

Michimasa Fujino received the Business & Commercial Aviation - Vision Award (2008),[64] the AIAA - Aircraft Design Award (2012),[65] the SAE International - Clarence L. (Kelly) Johnson Aerospace Vehicle Design and Development Award (2013),[66] the 2014 ICAS award for Innovation in Aeronautics for leading the design,[67][68] as well as a Living Legends of Aviation Industry Leader of the Year award.[69][70]

The HondaJet was included in the Robb Report - Best of the Best : Business Jets (2007),[71] in the Aviation Week & Space Technology - Techs To Watch (2010),[72] and in the 2014 'Best of What's New' by Popular Science magazine.[73] It is the recipient of the AIAA's 2012 Aircraft Design Award,[74] and the Flying Magazine - Flying Innovation Award in 2017.[75]

The Honda Aircraft Company received the AIAA Foundation Award for Excellence in 2018.[76]

Operational history[edit]

By October 2018, the 92 aircraft in service had logged 20,000 hours with a 99.7% dispatch reliability.[54]

Specifications HondaJet Elite[edit]

Data from [5]

General characteristics

  • Crew: 1
  • Capacity: 6 passengers
  • Length: 42 ft 7 in (12.99 m)
  • Wingspan: 39 ft 9 in (12.12 m)
  • Height: 14 ft 11 in (4.54 m)
  • Max takeoff weight: 10,701 lb (4,854 kg) [77]
  • Powerplant: 2 × GE Honda HF120 turbofan


  • Cruise speed: 486 mph (782 km/h, 422 kn) FL300
  • Range: 1,653 mi (2,661 km, 1,437 nmi) NBAA IFR Range with 4 occupants
  • Service ceiling: 43,000 ft (13,000 m)


Year 2015[78] 2016[79] 2017[80] 2018[81] All
Deliveries 2 23 43 37 105
Billings (M$) 9 103.5 209.2 183.1 504.8
Average (M$) 4.5 4.5 4.87 4.95 4.81

See also[edit]

Related development

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era

Related lists


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External links[edit]