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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Honda's New Jet Plane - Updated

Want more aviation? Read my new blog entitled Pioneers Of Aviation: HERE.

There's a news report coming out of Japan stating that the Honda Motor Co. is becoming a jet-setter.

Sure the car has always been a bit of a trendy high-society business, but now it is making jets.

While you shouldn't expect to be able to get the jet engine option for your Honda Accord, Honda has stated it will deliver its first aircraft in 2013 with plans to grab at least 1/4 of the world's market for small business jets thereafter - and it is all according to the company's long-time goal of taking to the skies.

Honda, Japan's No.3 car maker (behind Toyota and Nissan, respectively) and the world's biggest manufacturer of motorcycles and engines, is in the final stages of getting its $4.5 million (¥343,352,180) HondaJet certified.

Plans are afoot to take production of the jet plane up to 80 a year by the first half of 2013.

Diagram of HondaJet interior circa 2007.
Orders have been taking off for the seven-seater HondaJet since it began taking orders back in 2006—over 100 in three days!

Honda says its HondaJet will have, relative to the competition, a quieter engine, 20 per cent better fuel economy and operational costs of two-thirds or less.

Honda Aircraft Company CEO Fujino Michimasa.
In case you were concerned that since 2006 orders for the jet may have taken a nose-dive in light of the plummeting Japanese economy and the crash and burn after effects from the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear facility near meltdown—think again.

This plane's customers are global. And... consider that if your country is sucking the big one economically, there's a country out there reaping the benefits of your sucking. The same for companies and for individuals.

While Honda has not yet commented on an updated number of orders for the HondaJet, Fujino Michimasa (surname first) chief executive officer of Honda's North Carolina, U.S.-based subsidiary, Honda Aircraft Company, states that the company has held a backlog of about three years worth of orders taken through its nine dealerships in North America and Europe, with great interest from China, India, Brazil and the Middle East.

HondaJet cockpit
"I'm very optimistic about our prospects," explains Fujino at the Tokyo headquarters of Honda.  Fujino is actually the gentleman who began Honda's climb into aviation all the way back in 1986.

"We're doing with HondaJet what the Civic did to American cars from the 1960s. Our competitors are still producing with technology from the 1990s," he states, in reference to Textron Inc.'s Cessna and Brazil's Embraer SA , which now dominate the manufacture of the 200-a-year small business jet market.

The Honda Civic automobile has since its introduction in the U.S. in 1973 been one of the best-selling cars - period - known for its reliability, durability and mileage,. It was even one of the reasons for forcing gas-guzzling U.S. car manufacturers to rethink the way it made cars.

Seating behind the cockpit.
While Fujino has been spearheading the Honda rise in the plane market, the idea goes all the way back to Honda Soichiro (1906 - 1991) - the founder of Honda who back in 1917 was inspired by watching the flight of American pilot Art Smith demonstrate his bi-plane's aerodynamic abilities. Was he inspired? Honda also enjoyed hang-gliding, and ballooning until the age of 77, and maintained his pilot's license as well.   

Featuring a jet engine manufactured via a joint venture between Honda and General Electric Co., the HondaJet expects to have operational costs of about $1,000-$1,200 an hour, compared to the competition which has a best of $1,800.

The inexpensive cost of the HondaJet could, in fact, make traveling in a group of five or six cheaper and more efficient than flying commercially between small cities.

In anticipation of the HondaJet zooming down the runway and turning a profit by 2018, Fujino has said Honda Aircraft will add 300-350 factory staff to bring its total workforce to around 1,000 in the first half of 2013.

Rear seating of HondaJet.
Japan - It's A Wonderful Rife might state that for Honda, the sky is the limit... but something tells me that it might not be. Space... the final frontier... 

Files compiled by Andrew Joseph
And... thanks to the heady knowledge of one astute reader, I realize that the Honda Aircraft Company is located in North Carolina - the birth place of aviation, as the the Wright Brothers flew out of Kitty Hawk there! Cheers Anonymous for the smack to the back of my head and correcting my error!

5 comments:

  1. Wow, that is good! Just got 5 other people pay 15,000 each and you can fly to and from Osaka/Tokyo in no time.
    It is actually VERY tempting to learn how to fly now....

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  2. Honda Aircraft Company's Global Headquarters are located in Greensboro, NORTH Carolina. It is very fitting.

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  3. Dammit! Stupid Internet! I thought it was! My own knowledge said it was! Thanks for the correction!

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  4. Umm but what about servicing costs in different constituent areas of the world.. might be great saving cost per hour - but if service, parts and maintenance are expensive then forget it...

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  5. That is a very interesting point. The only thing I can think of, besides - wow, this anonymous writer must be rich - please be my friend! - is that this is a Honda. Honda, like any good CAR company (and it is), believes in servicing the customer. I would suppose that you can get darn near any part you need shipped to you overnight regardless of where you are (unless you name is Amelia). Service - I would assume a plane is a plane. Service will be what it is - and if you are rich enough to afford one of these planes, then I wouldn't sweat the nickels. Maintenance... again, a good mechanic is important.
    But really, you do raise some excellent questions. I think I shall actually get off my ass and ask Honda themselves!
    Cheers! And thanks for the extra work!

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