Honda, the worldwide maker of cars and motorcycles and lawn mowers, is doubling down on aircraft manufacturing. The Honda Aircraft Company unveiled a new jet, the HondaJet Elite, on Sunday May 27 at this year's European Business Aviation Conference and Exhibition (EBACE) in Geneva, Switzerland.
The original HondaJet achieved FAA certification in late 2015 and deliveries began shortly thereafter. The new business jet, which will be on display at EBACE until May 31, sports an extended range up to 1,437 nautical miles (a 17 percent increase over the original HondaJet), which Honda says makes it "the furthest-flying aircraft in its class."
"The HondaJet Elite represents Honda Aircraft's continued commitment to performance, efficiency and environment creating new value in business aviation," Honda Aircraft Company's President and CEO Michimasa Fujino said while introducing the new aircraft at EBACE. "The result of innovation, design and engineering, our new aircraft features several performance and comfort enhancements that, once again, set a new standard in aviation."
The aircraft design uses Honda's over-the-wing engine mount, developed on the original HondaJet, as well as a composite fuselage and natural laminar flow airfoil. The jet, which has been type certified by the FAA and European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), has a maximum cruise speed of 422 knots, according to Aviation Week, and maximum cruise altitude of 43,000 feet. It is powered by GE Honda HF120 engines, and includes noise-reducing engine inlets. Deliveries of the $5.25 million HondaJet Elite are expected to begin in August, Fujino said.
Honda's slick new business jet comes with some luxury interior features as well, including a "speaker-less in-cabin sound system" that presumably uses actuators to vibrate parts of the interior itself to create sound. The toilet has a seatbelt, just in case you need to go during some heavy turbulence, and of course the jet is available in all-new paint options, such as Ice Blue, Ruby Red, and Monarch Orange.
Honda claims its new HondaJet Elite is the the fastest, longest-range, most efficient, and quietest jet in its class. After moving into the aviation industry about three years ago, it's clear that Honda intends to remain a plane builder well into the future.