While the Honda name is synonymous with four-wheeled land vehicles, they’ve been in the aviation industry since 2006, producing private jets that optimise performance and comfort using their own innovative technologies. The latest in the company’s line of aircraft is the HondaJet Elite S, unveiled in a virtual product launch on 26 May 2021, and according to the company, it boasts several upgrades “that expand operational capability and improve flight operation.”
Like other members of the HondaJet line, the most striking visual feature of the Elite S is the award-winning over-the-wing-engine-mount (OTWEM) configuration. This design helps to increase the aircraft’s top speed by working with airflow over the wings, minimising aerodynamic shockwaves. The result is a very respectable maximum cruise speed of 42 KTAS (~77.8 km/h) at 30,000 feet. And because of the increased aerodynamics, courtesy of the OTWEM, natural laminar flow, and composite fuselage, the HondaJet is more fuel-efficient, allowing it to extend its maximum range for longer trips, and reduce its carbon emissions. Additionally, noise-attenuating engine inlets in the OTWEM engines displaces noise away from the cabin, providing passengers with a much quieter flight.
While we’re on the subject, the cabin of the HondaJet Elite S can accommodate up to five passengers with its fully adjustable leather seats plus one more in an optional side-facing seat. Given that the aircraft isn’t the largest example of a private jet, space is at a premium but the classic club configuration seats passengers comfortably and has the added benefit of allowing for easy interaction and conversations. Honda Aircraft Company even developed a mobile app giving passengers full control over the cabin’s lighting, temperature, window shades, and the state-of-the-art Bongiovi sound system. Behind the cabin is a fully private aft lavatory with its own skylight for a greater sense of comfort, an industry-first.
One of the Elite S’ selling points is its increased maximum takeoff weight of 200 lbs (90.7 kg), allowing buyers to bring an additional passenger, or load up the spacious aft cargo gold with more travel essentials. This was achieved through a combination of the jet’s powerful twin GE Honda Aero Engines HF120 engines and the carbon composite fuselage. The innovative composite material boasts greater strength and lighter weight than the aluminium traditionally used by other aircrafts, and since the weight of the HondaJet Elite S was reduced, this allowed for the option to take on a greater payload.
The most significant technological innovations featured in the HondaJet Elite S can be found in the cockpit. While it can be flown by two pilots, the HondaJet line is unique for its single pilot certification, allowing it to be flown solo if needed. With that in mind, it was imperative that the steps were taken to make it easier for a single pilot to operate. The highly customised Garmin G3000 avionics suite includes FAA DataComm and ACARS for more efficient communication through text instead of voice commands. This is intended to ensure that messages are clear when communicating with air-traffic control during departure clearances and flight operations. Honda also added its Advanced Steering Augmentation System (ASAS), specifically designed to reduce the pilot’s workload and enhance flight control, particularly during inclement weather.
Apart from all the design and technological innovations mentioned before, Honda Aircraft Company also announce the addition of new exclusive paint schemes, namely Gunmetal, Luxe Gold, and Deep Sea Blue. Yet another plus point for personalisation.
With its well thought out design, passenger comfort, and outstanding performance, the HondaJet Elite S is the greatest business jet in its class. In the words of Honda Aircraft’s CEO and President, Michimasa Fujino, “Since its introduction in 2018, the HondaJet Elite has achieved the best performance in its class while also being the most efficient, and with the new Elite S, we take another step forward in expanding the aircraft’s capability.”
Sales of the HondaJet Elite S have already begun, and the first deliveries are expected to commence later this month. For more information on the Elite S, head over to Honda Aircraft Company’s website.