If I ever have a spare $5 million to buy a business jet, there's a good chance I'd drop it on a HondaJet HA-420. Made by Honda Aircraft Company, a subsidiary of the same Honda that produces some of the world's most reliable cars, it's a small but elegant aircraft for the one percent. And dare I say, it's downright cute.
I caught the HondaJet almost by accident at the Paris Air Show this week as I was walking the long (and brutally hot) Le Bourget Airport hunting for the. But even in a far corner by itself, the HondaJet's long pointed noise and unique engines mounted above the wings clearly made it stand out from the other business jets parked at the show.
Though it made its first prototype in 2003, FAA certification didn't come until 2015, and the first production aircraft was delivered to a paying customer last year. As of last month, 57 aircraft have been built so far, but Honda should begin ramping up production by 2019 at its plant in Greensboro, North Carolina.
With room for only five passengers, the HondaJet won't accommodate a board meeting, but it could be just what you and your four wealthy friends need to fly to Vegas for the weekend. The small cabin is roomier than you'd think, but comfortably equipped with leather seats and work tables and there's even a private toilet and sink in the back. There's just no galley, so you'll need to bring your own snacks.
The most striking feature are the twin engines that are mounted above the wing. Honda says the placement reduces aerodynamic drag, which improves fuel efficiency and makes for a quieter ride. The fuselage is made from carbon fiber and copper mesh.
Other features of the HondaJet
- Powered by two Honda/General Electric HF120 engines producing 2,050 pounds of thrust
- Maximum range is 1,206 nautical miles (1,388 miles or 2,234 km)
- Typical cruising speed is 368 knots (423 miles per hour or 682 km per hour)
- Cabin measures 4.8 (1.46 meters) high by 5 feet (1.52 meters) wide
- Baggage compartments in the nose and at the aft end of the fuselage have a combined 66 cubic feet of space
- Base price: $4.85 million (about £3.8 million or AU$6.4 million)
My first car was a 1987 Honda Accord, which I drove into the ground commuting in Southern California in my youth. Even after 140,000 miles, it kept on ticking. If the HondaJet is just as reliable, I'd wager that there will be more Honda aircraft to come.