Honda Aircraft has revealed the first major upgrade for its HA-420 HondaJet only 30 months after the entry-level jet entered service.
The first HondaJet Elite will be delivered in August with a 17% range increase, a shorter take-off roll and several avionics improvements, says chief executive Michimasa Fujino.
“The HondaJet Elite takes passengers farther, faster, higher and in greater comfort than any other business jet in its class,” Fujino says.
The arrival of the $5.2 million HondaJet Elite comes early by industry standards. Most manufacturers wait at least six or seven years after a type is introduced before they roll out the first major performance improvements.
But Honda Aircraft has taken its cue from its parent company, a giant in the automotive industry, where performance upgrades are rolled out sometimes on a yearly schedule.
The HondaJet Elite adds an auxiliary fuel tank that increases range by 231nm to 1,437nm.
The North Carolina-based manufacturer also tweaked the design of the aircraft’s elevator, increasing its authority to reduce the HondaJet Elite’s takeoff roll by 400 feet.
The original HondaJet already boasts class-leading speed, but the Elite upgrade reduces the advantages of rival Textron Aviation's Cessna M2 in the areas of range and take-off performance.
The HondaJet Elite also brings new upgrades for the cabin. A new noise-attenuating engine inlet is added to reduce vibration and sound inside the four-seat cabin. The cabin itself is now augmented by a lavatory with a belted seat, allowing a fifth passenger to be accommodated even with a galley.
The Garmin G3000 avionics suite is also improved with several new features, including automated stability and angle of attack protection, as well as computed take-off distance.