...No Jet, Now Jet -- And Honda's Piston Engine?

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Not long ago (a little over a week ago) the HondaJet was strictly a technology demonstrator ... or so Honda would have us believe. As recently as AirVenture 2005 Honda Aero representatives told that the HondaJet was built to be carried by the GE/Honda engines, supposedly the only part of the jet that would be commercially marketed. Those same representatives said that Honda was in search of a manufacturer capable of matching the innovation of the GE/Honda engine with an equally innovative airframe. Apparently Honda has found that in itself. AVweb readers may recall that Honda in years past has made waves in the piston engine arena as well, but just as quickly as the engine was introduced, it faded away ... or so it seemed. Asked point blank at AirVenture 2005, company representatives told AVweb, "The piston engine is still alive. It's still in the research and development phase ... we're very conservative." Secretive and uncommunicative were other words that came to mind, but Honda prides itself on being a highly innovative, highly competitive company and likely holds its cards close to the vest -- even within the ranks. At least the company's highly competitive nature may ultimately benefit us all. (Think Honda vs. Toyota aviation piston engine development showdown.) That said, we were told that the Honda piston engine will be introduced ... when the company is convinced it will stand out from the pack -- both due to its performance and the airframe to which its mated. And (today) that sounds oddly familiar.