Honda, GE Team Up On Light-Jet Engine

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Corporate Powerhouses Join Forces...

The light-jet engine market is becoming almost as crowded as the mini-jet market itself. The collaborative effort of General Electric and Honda (which flew its own aircraft in November) to produce and market the HF 118 turbofan with a thrust rating in the mid-teens (the prototype is 1650 pounds but engines of this type can usually be scaled to produce more or less power) creates, with Williams International and Pratt and Whitney Canada, a powerful triad of competitors for a group of aircraft designs representing thousands of aircraft that so far exist only in order books. "For our segment of the industry, this is huge news," said Eclipse Aviation spokesman Andrew Broom. "It's great that another innovator is entering the marketplace." Eclipse is one of the few mini-jet makers to actually fly a prototype (Adam Aircraft's A700 is the only to fly with production engines) and none of the manufacturers will have planes ready for delivery for more than a year. Diamond spokesman Peter Maurer echoed those sentiments, saying it was "really encouraging" that such major companies see the market potential. Honda and GE made the announcement in Tokyo on Monday after reaching a still-secret deal the previous Friday. Honda has been tinkering with the HF 118 since 1986. It was first tested on other aircraft before being mated to a six-seater of Honda's own design at a test facility in North Carolina. The HondaJet flew for the first time in November but wasn't officially introduced until December. At the Monday news conference, GE Transportation CEO David Calhoun said the partnership gives his company an (almost) instant foothold in the mini-jet market and Honda inherits access to one of the biggest parts, service and repair organizations of any engine manufacturer. "Honda and GE have a common vision with this agreement, "Calhoun said. "We think the future for this engine is just fantastic."