...Will Honda Stop At An Engine?
Honda America spokesman Jeffrey Smith told the Dayton Daily News the current market for mini-jets (most of which will be employed as air taxis) is about 150 to 200 planes a year, rising toward 250 units a year over the next decade. However, Cessna spokeswoman Jessica Meyers said she's not aware of any contact between her company (the largest bizjet manufacturer in the world) and Honda. Cessna's Mustang will carry Pratt & Whitney, Canada, (PWC) engines currently under development. Likewise, Eclipse's Broom said, "We won't be switching engines again," sticking with PWC after canceling an engine deal with Williams last year. With the market's big guns otherwise committed, could Honda have another market in mind? Based out of Atlantic Aero's facility in Greensboro, N.C., flight-testing continues on the reportedly uber-efficient HondaJet. Diamond's Maurer said his company might be interested in the engine in the future despite an existing deal with Williams to power their single-engine D-Jet. The aircraft already sports a pair of HF 118s on vertical pylons extending from the wings. Atlantic Aero CEO Don Goodwin confirmed that the flight-test program is continuing but refused to say how many hours have been put on the prototype or provide any other details. "Honda likes to manage its public relations," he said. If the aircraft is as miserly as the PR department, Cessna and Eclipse might have something to think about. Honda and GE say the engine is 10 percent more efficient than comparable designs, a significant accomplishment. But mated to the Honda-designed airframe, the company is claiming a revolutionary 40-percent increase in efficiency. Eclipse's Broom said Honda still has "a lot of work to do" to catch up to U.S. manufacturers. But, then, Ford and GM had similar thoughts when those funny-looking, rust-prone, underpowered Japanese cars started spilling off ships 40 years ago.