Honda Civic of the Sky

When it comes to aircraft, size appears to matter to FT members. Big (read comfort) is often better. And vaudevillian museum-piece turboprops are so yesterday, so unappreciated by FT members. Now coming into the mix is Honda Aircraft, planning to compete with Embraer’s Phenom 100 and Cessna’s Citation, but with a “full-size” lavatory and a $4.5 million sticker price.

The STOL (short-take-off-and-landing) Honda aircraft looks perfect-pitch futuristic and pretty unconventional with twin engines over sculpted wings. It’s also a green-carded American since they’re building it at a massive new facility in Greensboro, N.C., which they’re calling world headquarters.

Reportedly, U.S. federal certification for Honda’s jet engine could come before the end of this year and overall certification for the aircraft perhaps next year.

Apparently Honda executives in America are hoping to rekindle a lost spirit of innovation that began in Hamamatsu in 1946. They’re aiming for completion of 100 jets every year beginning (maybe) by 2015. They say they’ve already received 100 orders based on a sleek-looking computer graphic and state-of-the-art flight specs. Honda is touting the plane’s fuel efficiency and a visionary design that fosters more cabin space than competitors. They also say the cruising speed will be about ten percent faster than competitors.

But Honda’s flight dreams are already a couple of years behind schedule and some analysts are placing it in the wait-and-see folder. Nonetheless, most people who have owned a Honda car know to never bet against them.

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