Honda Aircraft recently delivered the 250th HA-420 HondaJet, a milestone coming about eight years after the type’s certification and as the company turns its attention to developing the larger HA-480 Echelon.
“The 250th delivery milestone is not just a number, but a narrative of our constant pursuit of excellence and innovation,” Honda Aircraft chief executive Hideto Yamasaki says on 31 January. “We are grateful for the global recognition and trust that customers place in the HondaJet.”
The company helped create the very light jet market by developing the HA-420, a seven-passenger jet powered by twin, above-wing-mounted 2,050lb (9.1kN)-thrust HF-120 engines, made by GE Honda Aero Engines.
The aircraft made its first flight in 2003, but the project lagged for 12 years until the Federal Aviation Administration certificated the type in 2015.
Honda Aircraft has since rolled out several updated HA-420 variants, including the Elite, the Elite S and the newest version, the Elite II. That aircraft has 1,547nm (2,865km) of range, a 43,000ft service ceiling and maximum cruise speed of 422kt (782km/h).
The company produces HA-420s in Greensboro, North Carolina, where it is also based. The entire HA-420 fleet has logged 210,000h of flight, Honda Aircraft says.
The aircraft maker is now developing the HA-420’s successor, a 10-passenger light jet called Echelon.
Launched in June 2023, Echelon will have Garmin G3000 avionics and the same over-wing engine design, but with larger powerplants – twin Williams International FJ44-4Cs
Honda Aircraft puts Echelon’s range at 2,625nm, enough to fly transcontinental US flights and setting the type up to compete against established light jets like Embraer’s Phenom 300 and Cessna’s Citation CJ4 and Citation Latitude.
Honda Aircraft aims to complete Echelon’s first flight in 2026 and to achieve certificated, as an HA-420 derivative, in 2028.