Fancy flying in an aircraft with the shape of a woman’s shoe, especially one designed to look like a pair of Salvatore Ferragamo high-heeled footwear? Such may appear as wishful thinking, but Honda, a company famous for its award winning line of automobiles, motorcycles, and home improvement equipment, has made that possible by manufacturing the jet, after about 30 years of development.
The HondaJet marks the company’s entry into the $23 billion a year general aviation industry. Interestingly, the idea of the design was inspired when Michimasa Fujino, chief executive officer, Honda Aircraft, encountered the pair of shoes at a duty free shop while on vacation in Hawaii. According to him, the designer footwear represented beauty, comfort, and functionality.
Designer heels aside, it will also feature one of the most unique engine layouts in civil aviation, with two GE Honda HF120 turbofans mounted on top of its wings. This design eschews the conventional business jet layout that calls for engines to be mounted at the rear of the fuselage.
When it enters service, the $4.5 million North Carolina produced HondaJet will compete in the very light jet segment of the market against already established models, such as Embraer’s Phenom 100 and Cessna’s Citation Mustang.
Surprisingly, Honda already has 100 orders for the jet – on sale now in the US and Europe – with deliveries set to begin later this year. To show off its latest mobility offering, Honda is taking the jet on a world tour that kicked off with a ceremony at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport recently.