HondaJet Elite S

Honda Unveils Upgraded HondaJet Elite S

The latest version of the HondaJet adds more range and new communications and safety features.

In a virtual launch ceremony yesterday, Honda Aircraft president and CEO Michimasa Fujino revealed features of the new HondaJet Elite S, including an increase in maximum takeoff weight (mtow), flight deck improvements, a nosewheel steering enhancement, and new paint colors. The Elite S will be available starting in June and has a base price of $5.4 million, up from the Elite’s base price of $5.25 million when it was introduced in 2018.

The Elite S mtow is 200 pounds heavier, which allows carriage of an extra passenger or flying an additional 120 nautical miles with one pilot and five passengers. The additional mtow capability is the result of “various analyses, ground and flight tests, as well as additional certification requirement tests to prove the aircraft and its structural capabilities,” according to Honda Aircraft.

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On the flight deck, new features include a Com 3 datalink radio and FAA Data Comm and aircraft communications, addressing, and reporting system (ACARS) capabilities added to the Garmin G3000 avionics suite. Data Comm allows pilots to use text-style messaging via the G3000 touchscreen controllers for departure clearances and en route services where available in the U.S. ACARS is for receipt of terminal information and weather, including departure clearances from supported airports, as well as communications with operations centers for flight plan uploading, messaging, weather, and automatic position reporting and out/off/on/in status. The Com 3 radio can also be used as a VHF radio by disabling its datalink.

These features, said Fujino, are “all to reduce pilot workload and enhance safety and efficiency.”

A new nosewheel advanced steering augmentation system (ASAS) “helps reduces pilot workload during landing, expands operational limits, and enhances safety for missions in specific weather conditions,” according to Honda Aircraft. ASAS embodies new control logic in the nosewheel steering to assist the pilot during landing rollout. This is done by detecting the yaw rate of the HondaJet and "providing directional assistance to the nosewheel steering," according to the company, "to increase help maintain runway centerline during rollout. This reduces pilot workload during the landing rollout and provides an additional level of safety during the landing."

There currently is no upgrade package to bring HondaJet Elite models to the Elite S configuration, but the company is seeking customer input on the desirability of such an option.

Three new paint schemes are available with the Elite S: gunmetal, luxe gold, and deep-sea blue. The Elite S shown during the virtual unveiling sported a high-tech camouflage-style scheme, what Fujino said is a “unique paint scheme representing the spirit of Honda Aircraft Company as we continue our research and development of leading-edge technology and expand the horizon of the business jet.”

Introducing the new model, he said, “We are firm believers that you should never stand still, and [we are] always seeking to push the limits and evolve our design. This philosophy of continuous improvement led to the introduction of the HondaJet Elite and now the Elite S, the next iteration of HondaJet to expand operational capability.”