Hondajet wins Fly­ing In­no­va­tion Award

AMID A STRONG FIELD OF CON­TENDERS, THE IN­AU­GU­RAL IN­NO­VA­TION AWARD TRO­PHY GOES TO A WOR­THY CHOICE

Flying - - Contents - By Stephen Pope

If you haven’t heard the news al­ready, I’m pleased to an­nounce we have se­lected the HA-420 Hondajet as the re­cip­i­ent of the first-ever Fly­ing In­no­va­tion Award.

We cre­ated the an­nual prize, which was in­tro­duced to co­in­cide with the 90th an­niver­sary of the mag­a­zine, to rec­og­nize the ef­forts of vi­sion­ar­ies in gen­eral avi­a­tion who en­deavor to bring ground­break­ing prod­ucts to the mar­ket. Boy, have they ever. It’s fit­ting that Honda Air­craft re­ceives the first In­no­va­tion Award since the Hondajet em­bod­ies the type of in­ge­nu­ity that in­spired it. It’s an honor to wit­ness what Honda Air­craft has ac­com­plished, from the game-chang­ing air­plane to the in­cred­i­ble fac­tory in Greens­boro, North Carolina, to the new jet en­gine cre­ated in part­ner­ship with GE. It’s es­pe­cially grat­i­fy­ing to be­stow this recog­ni­tion on a land­mark prod­uct that be­gan with a sketch and a bold vi­sion by Honda Air­craft pres­i­dent and CEO Michi­masa Fu­jino, who not only led the de­sign, de­vel­op­ment and cer­ti­fi­ca­tion of the Hondajet over the past two decades but who has also served as a tire­less cham­pion of Honda’s vi­sion for the fu­ture of per­sonal mo­bil­ity.

Now that we have our first win­ner, of course, it ups the ante for fu­ture con­tenders. As you may know, our aim with this prize is to ac­knowl­edge the most pi­o­neer­ing prod­uct to emerge in the pre­ced­ing year in all of gen­eral avi­a­tion, any­where in the world. Nom­i­nees con­sist of our an­nual Edi­tors’ Choice Award winners, which we name at the start of each year. Se­lec­tion of next year’s In­no­va­tion Award re­cip­i­ent will be made on July 23, 2018, the open­ing day of Oshkosh, at the an­nual Fly­ing party on the shores of Lake Win­nebago. To be­come el­i­gi­ble for the prize, a com­pany can­not merely pro­claim its in­ten­tion to cre­ate some revo­lu­tion­ary new prod­uct. Teams of en­gi­neers must do the heavy lift­ing that cul­mi­nates with cer­ti­fi­ca­tion and mar­ket en­try. In this way, we be­lieve that the In­no­va­tion prize truly rep­re­sents a dis­tinct ac­com­plish­ment that stands above all oth­ers from the pre­ced­ing year.

That’s not to say the Hondajet had an easy time of it on the path to vic­tory. When we asked who you thought we should se­lect as the win­ner, the vot­ing on Face­book was about equally split among the six con­tenders, which, be­sides the Hondajet, in­cluded the Piper M600, Cubcrafters Xcub, Dynon D10A flight dis­play, Garmin G5 dis­play and Sir­iusxm por­ta­ble satel­lite weather re­ceiver. It was fun to hear your ar­gu­ments for which you thought should win, and we thank you for your in­put.

While we’re ex­cited to head into the new year with a fresh crop of nom­i­nees to con­sider, in a way I’m al­ready dread­ing the se­lec­tion process. We in­tro­duced this award with the clear un­der­stand­ing that the pace of in­no­va­tion is only ac­cel­er­at­ing. What that means, hap­pily, is we will have no short­age of can­di­dates for the award in any given year. That puts the onus on us, the edi­tors of this mag­a­zine, to get it right. Alas, there can be no ties. One win­ner, and one alone, will emerge vic­to­ri­ous next year at Oshkosh.

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