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Honda Motor Co., Ltd. : HondaJet


Honda Motor Company—known worldwide as Honda—boasts the world’s top share in motorcycles and small general-purpose engine, as well as excellent performance as a leading automobile manufacturer. The founder of the company, Soichiro Honda, was an outstanding engineer, whose dream from an early age was to build an aircraft with his own hands.

In 1962, he announced that Honda would be entering the aircraft manufacturing sector, and the company has been involved in research and prototype manufacturing ever since.

In December 2003, the company announced the very first HondaJet, a business jet developed entirely in house, including a Honda engine. In October 2006, at an air show in Florida, Honda began to take customer orders for the HondaJet, with delivery expected for 2013. From 2013 onwards, US skies will play host to Honda’s aircraft, a crystallization of the most advanced aviation technology in the world today.

Over-the-Wing Engine

The most unique feature of the HondaJet is a configuration in which the engines are located directly above the main wings. Most small aircraft have rear fuselage-mounted engines, while larger jet aircraft tend to have the engines mounted beneath the main wings.

Honda has registered a patent for their Over-the-Wing-Engine-Mount (OTWEM) configuration, in which the engine is placed above the main wings with support mounts. This configuration reduces wave drag and improves fuel efficiency during high-speed flight. It also means that the engine support structure previously necessary on the aft fuselage is no longer required, allowing Honda to realize a cabin with 30% more space that other aircraft in its class. This additional space means more space for piping for fuel systems within the aircraft, improving safety as well. More space means a better flight experience for passengers, as well.

The wing configuration is also innovative. The main wings, known as the SNH-1, are designed and produced according to a patented method. The wings and fuselage have been designed to allow airstream to flow over the surface without causing any drag, and to allow the aircraft to maintain an optimal position in the air as much as possible. This natural-laminar flow (NFL) design is unique in that it positions the thickest part of the wing on the trailing edge of the wing. In order to make this design possible, the aircraft uses aluminum alloy sheets machined to be as smooth as possible.

In-house Development of Globally Pioneering Engine

Of particular note is that the entire HondaJet aircraft—including the engine and fuselage—has been developed and manufactured in house.

There are around a dozen aircraft manufacturers in the world today, but few of those develop and manufacture the engines used within their aircraft. And Honda is the first ever automobile manufacturer to make the leap to aircraft manufacturing.

The engine that Honda has developed clears, with considerable margin, the latest standards on noise and environmental standards on gas emissions, as set by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). The time before overhaul is comparatively long, at 5000 hours, meaning the cost of overhaul and the loss associated with the aircraft being out of flight due to overhaul can both be reduced.

Other manufacturers are now considering the possibility of introducing the Honda engine into their fuselage design.

The business-use aircraft market is currently dominated by Cessna Aircraft Company, a US company, and Embraer, a Brazilian brand. Honda is hoping to soon secure a 15% of the market with the introduction of its HondaJet. Going forward, Honda intends to increase the number of models it manufacturers, with the initial objective being to move the business into the black by 2017.

It will be a great moment to see an aircraft manufactured in Japan flying around the world with a Japanese engine.

April 19, 2012

About the author
Hiromi Jitsukata is a reporter for Japanest NIPPON
(Official Site of Honda Corporate Jet Aircraft)
Cockpit: 2 (or 1)
Passengers: 5 (or 6)
Total: 7
Maximum speed
425 knots (approx. 787 km/h) *in flight test
Maximum operating altitude
43,000 feet (approx. 13,000 m) *in flight test
Continuous flight distance
2037 km *in flight test
2 x HF-120 Turbofan
Wing Span
Engine: HF-120
2 engines each combining within the shaft a fan, low-pressure compressor, low-pressure turbine, high-pressure compressor, and high-pressure turbine, in the following order (front to back):
1-stage fan
2-stage low-pressure centrifugal compressor
1-stage high-pressure centrifugal compressor
1-stage high-pressure turbine
2-stage low-pressure turbine
Take-off Thrust
Thrust specific fuel consumption (TSFC): 0.49 kg/hr/kgf
Cruise Thrust
Thrust specific fuel consumption(TFSC):0.75kg/hr/kgf
(0.7lb/hr/lb st)
Dry Weight
Bypass Ratio (BPR)
Fan Diameter
1,384mm(1,118 mm not including center body)