Honda Spreads Its Wings


HondaJet It’s really going to happen. Honda and Piper together announced they plan to sell and support the HondaJet introduced last year at AirVenture Oshkosh. The seven-seat jet has an operational ceiling of 41,000 feet, a 420-knot “maximum speed,” and a range of 1,100 nautical miles, according to Honda. The engines are two GE-Honda HF118 Turbofans that sit on pilons mounted vertically from the inboard section of the wings. Honda says the design’s features, which include a “natural laminar-flow” wing and nose, “help it achieve far better fuel efficiency, larger cabin and luggage space and higher cruise speed than conventional aircraft in its class.” Specific details about the Honda/Piper relationship were not made available, and certification is not expected for three to four years. “So far, the prototype HondaJet has achieved an altitude of 43,000 feet and a speed of 412 knots and is on course to meet or exceed all of its design specifications,” says Honda. Orders will be accepted by the company this fall. Click through to read the full news release.

Cessna NGP With two brand new aircraft designs — one proof-of-concept LSA, and one forward-swept wing five-place(?) piston-single — Cessna has used the forum of AirVenture Oshkosh 2006 to showcase the return of Cessna innovation to light aircraft design. … And show skeptical onlookers it’s more than capable of raising a few hundred thousand goose bumps in the balmy mid-western heat. The LSA announcement was expected, and Cessna claims it may still not lead to a commercially available design. But the un-announced surprise arrival of Cessna’s “Next Generation Piston Aircraft” simply dropped jaws. Cessna says the aircraft, flying out of the company’s Wichita facilities, has since June 23 accumulated more than 20 hours in its development program. “It will set new standards in performance, comfort and safety, and will be backed by Cessnas worldwide sales, distribution, training and service infrastructure,” said Cessna CEO and president, Jack Pelton. A close look shows cantilever forward-swept wings, front and back access doors, plus baggage door, and subtle compound curves. Go to the scrolling headlines on the upper right of our homepage to have a look at what all the fuss was about.

Cessna LSA The proposed Light Sport Aircraft (LSA) made its debut at AirVenture Oshkosh Monday to an eager sun-drenched crowd. LSA’s are defined by a maximum gross weight of 1,320 pounds, maximum level-flight speed of 120 knots, and no more than two seats … so that much was no surprise. Cessna’s uncommitted proof-of-concept offering features a strutted high wing spanning 30 feet and side-by-side seating in a cabin with a maximum width of 48 inches (hop into your local Cessna 152 and add six inches). The cockpit is accessed via upward opening doors and sports large windows and dual control sticks. Targeting pleasure flyers and new pilots the aircraft sits on tricycle gear, steers (while on the ground) via toe brakes (plus a castering nose wheel), and is pulled aloft by a 100-hp Rotax 912 engine. Construction is mostly aluminum, with selective use of composites for the cowl, wing and dorsal fin. Cessna chairman, president and CEO, Jack Pelton, said first flight of the aircraft is planned for later this year. Cessna says reaction to the aircraft will help determine whether the company will enter into the budding LSA sector.