Honda HA-420 Business Jet, Japan
Honda HA-420 is a twin-engine business jet designed and being manufactured by US-based Honda Aircraft Company (HAC) to operate on domestic and international air routes. It will be the first general aviation aircraft to be built by HAC. Three prototypes are planned to be built.
The maiden flight of the first production HA-420 jet took place from Piedmont Triad International Airport in December 2010. The aircraft is expected to enter service in 2013.
Design and development of the business jet
The sleek and aerodynamic design of the HA-420 is claimed to accomplish 35% higher fuel efficiency than the conventional business jets. An over-the-wing podded engine configuration of the aircraft reduces the drag in flight as well as maximises the cabin space.
HAC began to research for a potential small size business jet in early 1980s. The development of the first prototype, the MH02 Hondajet, began in the late 1980s and early 1990s at Mississippi State University's Raspet Flight Research Laboratory.
Built with composite materials, the MH-02 took off on its first flight in December 2003. It was introduced to the global audience at the EAA Venture Air Show held in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, in July 2005.
In July 2006, HAC decided to commercialise the Hondajet. The company began to take customer orders in 2006 with a price tag of $3.65m each. HAC and Piper Aircraft Company entered into partnership in August 2006 to market the aircraft.
Construction of the new production facility to build the Hondajet began in 2007 and was completed in 2011.
Assembly of flexible airframe, fuselage, metal wings, empennage, landing gear and engine pylons began in May 2010. In July 2011, HAC announced that it will produce 70 to 100 Hondajets per annum.
Construction and flight deck of the HA-420
The fuselage is made up of lightweight carbon composite or honeycomb sandwich materials to decrease the overall weight of the aircraft. The wings are built with strengthened single sheets of aluminium, which provide a smoother surface compared to the wings of conventional business jets.
The HA-420 features the first touchscreen controlled all digital glass flight deck integrated with a Garmin G3000 avionics system.
The flight deck is equipped with two LCD compatible 14.1-inch primary flight displays and a central multifunctional display, two user-friendly infra-red touch screen control panels, autopilot function and anti-icing equipment. The Garmin SVT (synthetic vision technology) offers virtual view of runways, terrains, traffic and obstacles.
Cabin and engines onboard the twin-engine business jet
The spacious cabin of the HA-420 is 5.43m long, 1.52m wide and 1.47m high. The total external baggage volume is 1.87m3.
The cabin can accommodate five passengers and offers plenty of leg space. It will feature executive seating for four passengers in classic club configuration and an additional single seat divan.
It will be equipped with flexible leather club style seats, fashionable cup holders, tray table, electrochromatic window shades and a private aft lavatory.
The Honda HA-420 is powered by two GE Honda HF120 turbofan engines rated at 8.04kN of maximum thrust each. The engine is designed and developed by General Electric Honda Aero Engines at their plant in Burlington, North Carolina.
The HF-120 is equipped with a dual controlled ultra compact full authority digital engine control system, a single fan, a two-stage compressor and a two-stage turbine. The integration of modern reverse flow combustor and fuel nozzles in the engine reduce fuel consumption, ground detected noise and harmful emissions, such as Nox, CO and HC.
The engine is 1.1m long and 0.53m in diameter. Its dry weight is 181kg. The time between overhaul of the engine is 5,000 hours.
Performance of the Honda Aircraft Company's (HAC) jet
The HA-420 jet can climb at the rate of 20.27m/s. Its maximum speed is 778km/h. The range and service ceiling of the aircraft is 2,593km and 13,107m respectively. The take-off distance is 950m, while the landing distance is 762m.