HondaJet Plane Prototype: The Civic of the Skies

Honda announced a new light jet prototype that uses advanced composite materials and other design tricks to achieve a 20% fuel efficiency compared to other jets.

Honda is going to enter the jet planes business. Or at least that’s what one could think seeing that the company has unveiled a new ‘green’ jet prototype that uses advanced composite materials and other design tricks to achieve a 20% fuel efficiency compared to competitors. But that’s not all, HondaJet is also said to be quieter and able to fly faster than its rivals.

Honda’s project is part of a renewed and growing intersection between automobiles and aviation that is occurring around personal- and business-transport. Honda touts the same qualities for the plane, such as “dynamic performance” and efficiency, as it does for its cars. The company has said it is essentially applying lessons learned in auto manufacturing to the aircraft business.

Honda engineering team used carbon composites and resins that not only made the plane lighter and more fuel efficient it also allowed for more design flexibility. The shape of the fuselage helps improving the natural-laminar flow for even better drag, by redirecting the air-flow in a more optimal way.

Because they used carbon composites and resins, the design team were able to shape the fuselage in such a way that drag is further reduced. That’s why you see shapes that are different from other planes; they redirect the air-flow in a more optimal way compared to the typical “straight” fuselages.

HondaJet is powered by new engines designed and produced in partnership with General Electric. The result is a set of engines with a very high air compression ratio and high-tech fluid dynamics software that optimize the engine’s airflow.

Honda Motor Co. says the first FAA-conforming version of the small business jet it has been working on for years made its first flight. The plane, called the HondaJet, flew from the company’s Honda Aircraft Co. operation at Piedmont Triad International Airport in Greensboro, N.C.

While an earlier version called a proof-of-concept aircraft has logged more than 500 hours of flight testing, flying the version built to Federal Aviation Administration rules is what really counts toward bringing the plane to market.

HondaJet Plane Prototype is bringing something new to the jet market. The engine is mounted on top of the wings in such a way that it reduces aerodynamic interference, and thus it lowers overall drag. Because of this, it helps reducing noise pollution by as much as 20db.

Honda says it will build five FAA-conforming jets for testing before ramping up production in 2012. The company says it has more than 100 orders for the light business jets, which have a top speed around 483 mph and a ceiling of 43,000 feet. Honda plans to deliver the first one in the third quarter of 2012. [Honda via The Coolist, Device Mag and Wall Street Journal]

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