HondaJet at NBAA (third time is the charm?)

One of the long-held dreams of people in general aviation is that a car company would come in and fix all of our woes (high costs, low volumes, intensive maintenance requirements, dumb-as-bricks systems). If Honda, for example, could make an airplane that is as comfortable and reliable as a Honda Odyssey minivan, mass-produced at a reasonable price, life would be awesome.

Well, Honda actually did go into the airplane business! And it took them way longer to push the plane out the door than it would have taken Cessna or Embraer. And an operator of the first-generation plane at NBAA 2022 gave the airplane low marks. (I wrote a review of the plane in 2016.) The airplane is fueled from a single point in the tail, which requires a ladder, and can take nearly 30 minutes for a line guy (this desirable job working in the cold or heat is almost always done by those who identify as “men”) to fill. During this time there will be periodic overflows that will cover the line guy in Jet A. When finished, the plane was never able to hold the advertised maximum capacity. “We were always 100 lbs. light.” The lav is externally service, but in a non-standard way that results in some bad outcomes. “Ten percent of the Gen 1 airplanes went off the runway,” noted the operator. “They’ve maybe fixed that in the newer ones by limiting nosewheel travel depending on speed.”

The plane itself did not end up having way better specs or a lower price than the very light jet/light jet competition. Honda announced a variety of Gen 3 features at NBAA. There is an extra fuel tank under the tail, which increases the ability to accept fuel, extends range slightly. A light next to the fuel filler comes on when the massive overflow spray is imminent:

The cockpit is more or less unchanged. It is a clean Garmin G3000, with no overhead panel and a general lack of clutter:

What will be new in the cockpit are autothrottles and a big button for the amazing Garmin Autoland system.


How many Bidies for this wonderful device? About $7 million, which sadly means that all of Honda’s manufacturing and engineering expertise aren’t doing anything to bring the price of new aircraft down (it’s cheaper than the Embraer Phenom 300, but not if you adjust for size, seats, range, etc. (and the per-hour operating cost may be similar); it is more expensive than the Embraer Phenom 100 and Cessna M2 jets and provides some additional performance and cabin size).


6 thoughts on “HondaJet at NBAA (third time is the charm?)

  1. I hope they work out the bugs and get the plane on the market. Even though Honda is Honda, I’ll bet the high cost won’t come down until the can produce a second and third model and amortize and recoup the development and manudacturing costs.

    I watcjed a cool video a few daulys ago about the 2023 Ford Maverick pickup truck, which has a 2WD Hybrid variant that improves upon the same basic powertrain in my 2010 Escape Hybrid. The low-end model sells in the low-$20s which considering how much I like the powertrain and my esteem for it, is a real bargain. But Ford loses money on the cheapies and the videographer explained how they hope to amortize the costs as production grows. The 2022s were scarce and if you want a 2023, bett get that order in soon.

    In other words, I wouldnt expect to see ‘big car company’ prices, etc., until Honda gets quite a few of this brand new and unique (for Honda) airplane into the hands of customers who can affo4d the hig initial prices and snags.

  2. Also: Rivian has sufferered from this in their quest to build the World’s Most Awesome Electric Pickup Truck. They can’t sell enough at the price point they’ve got to recoup the costs. And their investors are getting very skittish. And they have all kinds of legal and fiscal problems with their plans to build a gigantic battery production plant in Georgia.

  3. Not as positive as the 1st Greenspun review in 2016. Guess motorcycle designs translate better to minivans than airplanes. Kind of disappointing that after years of rumors that Tesla would become the next car company to make airplanes, Elon’s next diversion was a social network.

  4. The perfect light jet for the owner/pilot would have the size and capabilities of a PC-24, but with Garmin avionics, and built+supported by Cessna. Call it the CJ24. Hopefully Textron builds it once all their engineers wrap up the SkyCourier and Denali projects.

  5. One high school buddy goes to work on the line at the airport, the other goes to a bank. After a few years they run into each other.
    Banker: “I just made VP, got a subsidized car loan, and marrying a cute teller soon. How about you?”
    Line guy: Still pumping Jet A and toxic 100LL, draining lavs in the winter with piss-sicles hanging from my elbows, and working every holiday.”
    Banker: “That sounds AWFUL – why don’t you quit?”
    Line guy: “What, leave AVIATION?

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