Hondajet wins Flying Innovation Award
AMID A STRONG FIELD OF CONTENDERS, THE INAUGURAL INNOVATION AWARD TROPHY GOES TO A WORTHY CHOICE
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.