HondaJet Elite: HA-420 Gets a Luxury Makeover
The vast majority of people would consider the HondaJet HA-420 in its own right. Since being released in 2015 the company has shipped 85 of these private jets to customers around the globe. It’s a hit. But, if you’re looking for a little extra – a few tweaks to really take it over the edge – then you’ll want to read on.
Recently, Honda delivered the first HondaJet Elite. Based on the HA-420, this modified update has been fine-tuned to take things up a few notches, and the results are impressive.
The already-quiet cabin is now even more so, making this an ideal choice for business commuters or those who want to take some time to catch up on rest whilst flying. This is bolstered by an improved set of systems which allow greater power over flight, navigation, and control. A smoother flight is a better flight.
Noise pollution is reduced
If you were a fan of the unique design of the HA-420’s engines – which are hoisted onto pylons attached to the wings – then don’t worry, as they’re still intact. But they’ve been treated to an upgrade. Alterations to the inlets mean that noise pollution is reduced, and this is something that you can notice in the cabin itself.
Everybody values their wellbeing when flying, so it’ll come as welcome news that the HondaJet Elite is even safer than its predecessor. The updated avionics systems now include an optional extra to tackle hazards of mishandling. Opt for it and you’ll be able to hit the aircraft’s top speed of 486 mph in the knowledge that the system is prepared for the worst.
Even without the extras, it’s a wonderfully safe machine. The enhanced ergonomically Honda-customised, highly automated Garmin G3000 avionics suite is truly something to behold. Experienced pilots will wonder at the increased display performance, full flight VNAV/TOLD/PERF, beautiful graphical weight and balance, AoA indicator and more.
Greater degree of flexibility
In fact, the HondaJet Elite is designed for all sorts of tricky scenarios. If space is an issue, it has you covered; it can take-off and land in shorter distances than the HA-420, giving you a greater degree of flexibility regarding when and where you fly.
This is further improved by an increased range of 17%. In total, this takes the aircraft’s potential to 1,437 nm. That’s enough to cover plenty of non-stop flights (think London to Moscow). Or, if you’re willing to pop down to refuel once, the possibilities are vastly broadened.
However you look at it, the stats are impressive. The HondaElite Jet can reach 43,000 ft, climbing at a rate of 4,100 ft per minute. Stretching just over 42 ft in length, the aircraft is capable of carrying up to five passengers at a time. Or, with just a single crew member, it can hold six.
A beautiful exterior design
Without taking its incredible spec into consideration, the HondaElite Jet is something to appreciate for its aesthetics alone. It boasts a beautiful, sleek design which has upturned wing tips and innovative engine placement (known as an Over-The-Wing Engine Mount) to produce a very compact and tight look. The pointed nose adds to its sharp appearance, and you’d be hard-pressed to find any aviation head who didn’t agree that this aircraft is a thing of beauty.
It’s a similar story inside the cabin. Spacious and with plenty of natural light, there’s an elegant ambiance to the tidy interior design. Beiges and creams help keep things light and airy, but there’s plenty of substance here. Two-toned executive leather seats mean longer journeys are never a chore, and there’s also a private lavatory, full-service galley, and onboard Wi-Fi to ensure you have everything you need.
In-cabin sound systems are fantastic both for communication with the crew and – where available – for multimedia entertainment. But speakers can sometimes look out of place in a luxury aircraft. Here, that’s not an issue. The innovative speakerless cabin system is integrated into the panels to deliver high quality audio without the usual setbacks.
Heard enough and want to snap one up? No problem – but you’ll need to stump up a cool $5.25 million. That’s around $350,000 more than its predecessor and, of course, doesn’t account for extras. It’s worth noting that the HA-420 is no longer in production, making the HondaJet Elite the only version currently being made.
‘The best performance, efficiency, and comfort in its class’
Speaking to Honda Aircraft Company President and CEO Michimasa Fujino, the pride in his accomplishment is clear to see.
‘When I set out to design a business jet, I wanted to create new value in the aviation industry by providing users with the most advanced technologies such as state-of-the-art aerodynamics and composite structure,’ said Mr. Fujino. ‘The HondaJet is a clean sheet design and the result of years of aeronautical research.’
‘Our meticulous attention to detail, design, and engineering offer customers the best performance, efficiency, and comfort in its class. Also, dedication to bettering the industry and to improving the lives of our customers’ accounts for the HondaJet’s success.’
It’s a significant step in a market which Mr Fujino believes is evolving, with eco-aware flyers moving away from large-cabin jets and towards lighter aircraft:
‘There has been an increase in interest in more efficient business jet travel options. For example, the majority of business jet usage is less than 1,000 nautical miles. If you are traveling with a few passengers, it’s more practical and efficient to use a light jet rather than a large cabin jet.
‘The HondaJet is as high performance and comfortable as a large cabin jet, but is also much more efficient and appealing to not only individual owners but also fleet & charter operators.’
The HondaJet Elite is an improvement in all the right places. If the vision of Honda’s CEO proves correct, we’ll be seeing plenty of these in the skies over the coming years.
Pictures Courtesy of HondaJet.