HondaJet Manufactures Its Own Engines

The airframer decided to build from scratch to ensure that it would reach its high-performance targets.

When Honda Aircraft's HondaJet prototype first flew on Dec. 3, 2003, it represented a clean-sheet very light jet design by Honda’s new aviation division. Moreover, it was powered by turbofan engines that Honda’s own engineering team had designed and manufactured.

While engines in the required power range were already available, the airframer opted to create a new one to get maximum efficiency and meet its ambitious design goals.

HondaJet Elite

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HondaJet Elite

The original model garnered praise but also criticism. An upgraded version will likely produce more of the former and less of the latter.

It is a given in this industry that designing and producing a jet powered by new engines involves huge risk, but Honda Aircraft and its founder, Michimasa Fujino, were determined to take that risk to prove that the HondaJet, with its unique over-the-wing engine mount design, could perform better than traditional business jets of similar sizes. That they did, both in early wind-tunnel testing and once the prototype HondaJet and its Honda-built HF118 engines took to the skies.