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HondaJet to Attend Full EAA Airventure 2006

HondaJet’s over-the-wing engine-mount configuration helps eliminate the need for a structure to mount the engines to the rear fuselage and, thus, maximizes the space in the fuselage.

Honda is bringing the very light jet HondaJet to this year’s EAA AirVenture Oshkosh. After making only a brief appearance for its unveiling at Airventure 2005, the HondaJet will stick around for the entire event this year, and be featured in the new Honda Pavilion.

The HondaJet prototype reportedly gets 40% better fuel economy than comparable aircraft—a promising achievement, given that few solutions are available to lower the greenhouse-gas production inherent in commercial air travel. (Earlier post.)

Very Light Jets (VLJ) are jet aircraft weighing 10,000 pounds or less maximum takeoff weight and cleared for single pilot operations. VLJs can operate from shorter runways than commercial airliners and can utilize the 5,000+ satellite airports around the US. VLJ industry analysts predict there may be as many as 5,000-10,000 VLJs operating in North American airspace by 2015.

Honda began research into compact business jets in 1986, using engines provided by other manufacturers. The HF118 Turbofan Engine-equipped HondaJet experimental compact jet is the first Honda-developed aircraft to be outfitted with a Honda engine, now being refined in a joint venture with GE.

The HF118 engine.

GE Honda Aero Engines LLC is a 50/50 joint venture company formed in late 2004 to manufacture and market the HF118 family of commercial turbofan engines ranging in thrust from 1,000 to 3,500 pounds. The initial HF118 engine for the HondaJet will be rated in the 1,700-pound-thrust class.

The company has enhanced the engine over the past year, resulting in:

  • An improvement in specific fuel consumption of approximately 4 percent and a weight reduction of approximately 8 percent;

  • Enhancements to Honda’ state-of-the-art high-pressure compressor (HPC) have increased airflow and improved efficiency. Improvements in the high-pressure turbine (HPT) include new blades using GE’s advanced, single-crystal material and that were designed using 3-dimensional aerodynamic (3-D aero) design technology.

  • The use of high-flow, wide-chord swept aerodynamic technology already service-proven on the GE90-115B, the world’s most powerful engine, and on the GEnx engine currently being developed.

GE Honda Aero Engines intends to sell the HF118 to other aircraft manufacturers as well as see it applied in the HondaJet.



Robert Gray

Bravo Zulu to Honda for getting the job done.

I don't understand the partnership with GE; but my best wishes for their success.


I don't get it, either. It doesn't seem like there's anything to be gained by Honda and GE's involvement has thus far been pouring cash into "green" investment opportunities that need the capital.

But, hell. If it shaves time off of a development schedule and adds to the potential for commercial marketability, I guess it's worth it.

Thomas Pedersen

It's a very cool and cute little plane, and I'd love to own one myself (fat chance...). And I'm sure it will increase the productivity of the CEOs using it. But there's little doubt that flying one or two persons to their destination, compared to driving or commercial air transport, will increase their (passengers') fuel consumption.

The fact that this aircraft has significantly less fuel consumption is both good and bad - good regarding all those who were going to buy a VLJ anyway, bad regarding the ones who can suddently afford one.

If anyone has any data on fuel consumption (passenger miles per gallon) that contradicts the above, I'd like to hear about it.



The hondajet gets 39.36 seat miles per gallon (6 seats). An sj30 returns 22.5 seat miles per gallon (7 seats). A learjet 31a returns 24.9 seat miles per gallon (8 seats). That is a pretty phenomenal improvement in efficiency.

hampden wireless

Thanks Honda for improving the small jet!

I know seat mpg is an important stat to know but if you are talking seat miles per gallon everything looks rosy. A Ford excursion gets 60 seat mpg and a Chevy Tahoe gets a whopping 140 seat mpg on the highway.

allen zheng

Look at the lower range in thrust. At 1,000 lbs thrust class, Honda (and to a lesser degree GE) may be shooting for technology for cruise missile engine technology. Whether be upgrades to aging systems like the BGM-109 Tomahawks, to new ones like Taurus (Japan might seek one in the future), this is a market for them to look to.
____Additionally, the "road in the sky" GPS based nav system that NASA developed may open up the skies to all sorts of aircraft by flying straighter, shorter, more fuel efficient paths. Small air taxis may be one choice. Another would be low flying aircraft (less than 8,000 ft), in the less than $100,000 dollar range for the middle class. They would be powered by efficent engines of ICE (gas or diesel), or turboprops. This may open up commuting on the long distance scale (south NJ to NYC, east Texas to Dallas/Houston), since flying is faster and at times more efficient than driving. If the price for turbojets/turbofans come down, then they may start to really spread out.


The advantage of working with GE is GE already has both turbine manufacturing technology and aircraft markets. Honda's engine piston engines do not provide automatic entre to the aircraft manufacturers that GE already sells to.


Allen- The $100,000 and under price range is populated solely by single piston engine planes (mostly those which qualify for the new sport light category). There may be a few "expiremental kits" with turbocharged piston engines in that price range. These planes, for the most part, don't have instruments and are restricted to VFR only flights which means a cloudy day grounds you and you must fly during daylight hours. Not very good for commuting and really only good for leisure. Besides, I don't know of too many "middle class" families with the disposable income to buy a plane in the $60,000 to $100,000 range given the operating costs could easily run $50 per hour.

Sid Hoffman

Hampden, keep in mind that 140 seat mpg for the Tahoe is at an average of maybe 55 miles per hour versus the 200-350mph that VLJ operate at. Also, for example I know it's 900 miles to drive from Phoenix to Denver but only 500 miles to fly, so aircraft get to cover fewer miles for any given trip, too.


Poetic: Honda soars, GM sinks.

allen zheng

Currently, yes , but if mass produced, it will bring down the costs per unit if there is enough demand. Upper class will buy increasing numbers of them if they can see the ability to travel large distances quickly at modest prices. The increased demand will put manufactors on the path to spread it to the masses, like the car as they seek to increase sales.
____I do remember that GM sold off its civilian and military space/electronics/communications systems to Raytheon and Boeing in 1997, and 2000. This was just as the military was about to embark on FOW (Future Objective Warrior, now part of expanded FCS combat systems), networked warfighting (communications, data, space systems, enhanced C4ISR), and other high tech equiptment upgrades/procurments. They also spun off a diesel-electric locomotive unit in Jan. 2005 to private investors just as the demand for rail transport took off. Additionally, they recently let their profitable Direct Tv unit with over 15 million subscribers, and growing, let the other stakeholders complete a 100% takeover. Then it is their profitable GMAC division they sold part of to a privat equity group. They are in a dive.

Joseph Willemssen

But there's little doubt that flying one or two persons to their destination, compared to driving or commercial air transport, will increase their (passengers') fuel consumption.

Well, those are two different things. Driving entails consuming fuel on a specific trip. Flying commercial aviation entails the marginal amortization of fuel that would otherwise be consumed (as on all forms of public transport). Plus, general aviation (ie, private planes) and automobiles really aren't comparable modes in terms of service, unless you're speaking of fairly short distances.

That said, the BTU/passenger-mile consumption for the HondaJet is 4,244 at its maximum capacity of 5 passengers, 10,610 for 2 passengers, and 21,220 for 1 passenger.

By comparison, the average BTU/passenger-mile for a commerical airline trip is 3,341. For a light vehicle (ie, cars, SUVS, and trucks) one passenger consumes 6,250 BTUs/mile.

You also need to keep in mind that the point-to-point distances are going to be different for each mode, with general aviation almost certainly the shortest distance. You'd also need to figure in feeder transportation energy consumption figures, as well as the energy used for infrastructural support (eg, a major airport compared to a small airstrip or regional airport).


Some other positive possibilities for Honda:

In the time-honored Japanese tradition, they may intend to perfect this technology in a small package, then scale it up. At some point those ancient Boeing airliners are gonna fall apart. Unfortunately by then Southwest should be the only airline left in the country so air travel will be monopoly-priced anyway.

Another possibility is hydrogen. I know there's safety issues in a crash. But hydrogen fuel seems to offer a bigger advantage for aircraft performance than for any other application due to reduced weight. In order to switch to hydrogen, we're going to need a new generation of jets anyway. That gives us a simpler high-altitude pollution problem to research (water exhaust from burning hydrogen at high altitudes is itself a greenhouse problem, but it might be preferable to what we do now).

Also, smaller jets at lower altitudes will definitely put air pollution at a lower altitude than commercial airliners use. From a greenhouse standpoint lower is better.

We could be headed for a highly-automated charter system not unlike some proposed decentralized mass transit systems: whenever enough people request a particular route at a certain time from a website, a schedule is automatically calculated. It would take a large number of small planes operating from a large number of small airports. If the FAA requires that the system utilize hydrogen-powered planes, and that the hydrogen must not be produced using methane or coal, then we have one small step towards replacement of an entire carbon-emitting industry. There are many carbon-emitting industries that will have to be replaced for greenhouse reasons, but this is the one case where the public will see that there need not be any losers.

I myself am still pushing for hypersonic subways running between cities, but I can't figure out the carbon burden from the tunneling work.

Joseph Willemssen

It just dawned on me. This jet gets a little over 6 mpg. How much does a large RV get?

allen zheng

5-10, about a semi's.

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