- The Honda HA-420 HondaJet Elite is one of the most advanced light private jets in the world.
- The HA-420 is Honda’s first foray into the business of aircraft design and manufacturing.
- In 2006, the Honda Aircraft Company was set up to commercialize the HondaJet with its headquarters based in Greensboro, North Carolina.
- Here’s a closer look at Honda Aircraft’s sprawling Greensboro campus.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
The Honda HA-420, known to most people as simply the HondaJet, is one of the most impressive and innovative light business jets on the market. The HondaJet is the culmination of three decades worth of research and development led by aerospace engineer Michimasa Fujino.
Fujino told Business Insider that the Japanese automaker’s foray into aviation was initially a closely held secret. In fact, even company Soichiro Honda was not told of the project.
By 2003, the HondaJet was ready to fly. Three years later, the Honda Aircraft Company was established with Fujino as its CEO.
In the fall of 2017, Business Insider had the chance to experience the HondaJet first hand on a test flight over the Northeastern United States. It was magnificent. The HondaJet proved to be quick, comfortable, and chock full of innovative design features.
In 2018, Honda introduced an updated version of the plane called the HondaJet Elite. The name matches with the designation given to the company’s luxury spec automobiles. Earlier this year, we travelled to the company’s headquarters in Greensboro, North Carolina for a test flight of the Honda Jet Elite.
With redesigned wings and engine intakes, the Elite is even quieter and more aerodynamic than the original HondaJet. At $US5.25 million, the Elite costs around $US350,000 more than its predecessor.
As part of our day at Honda Aircraft headquarters, we also got the chance to tour the company’s production facility and delivery center.
Here’s a closer look:
We visited the home of HondaJet in early February. We were fortunate that the day we selected for our visit was extremely mild, even by local standards. Immediately upon arrival, we were reminded that this was unlike any other Honda facility.
This sprawling 133-acre campus is the result of Honda’s $US230 million investment into its North Carolina home.
The campus is adjacent to Piedmont Triad International Airport just a few miles northwest of downtown Greensboro.
Waiting for us on the apron was a new HondaJet Elite, the main reason for our trip.
The HondaJet Elite certainly impressed us with its stylish design, innovative tech, and comfortable ride.
Following the test flight, we got a tour of the campus where 1,500 people work.
Inside the main administrative building there’s mock-up of HondaJet along with the company’s other high-profile products, such as a Gold Wing motorcycle and…
… an NSX supercar.
There’s also a miniature architectural model of the campus.
Next up, the main assembly facility.
We had to wear safety goggles.
It is in this room where the Honda Jet comes together.
The jet begins the process as carbon composite fuselage shells.
The fuselages are supplied by GKN Aerospace.
Next, the wings, vertical stabilizer, and landing gear are fitted to the fuselage.
The Honda/GE HF120 turbofan engines are then installed on pylons above the wing. The engines are made in nearby Burlington, North Carolina.
Work is also conducted on the inside of the carbon composite fuselage.
There are jets lined up along the walls of the production facility in various stages of completion.
Every aircraft is meticulously hand assembled.
A nearly completed aircraft emerges at the end of the production line.
After leaving the main production facility, the jet is painted and fitted with a custom interior.
The final product is presented to the customer at HondaJet’s cavernous delivery center.
It comes complete with a luxurious reception area and even a turntable so the customer can view his or her new jet for every angle.
Next, take a tour of the inside of the HondaJet Elite.
I flew on Honda’s new $US5.25 million private jet to see if it’s faster, quieter, and more luxurious than before. Here’s the verdict.
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