INTERVIEW WITH FOUNDING PRESIDENT AND CEO OF HONDA AIRCRAFT COMPANY
JET Asia-pacific magazine sat down with Michimasa Fujino, founding president and CEO of Honda Aircraft Company for an insider’s look how Hondajet came to be and what it means to fly in one.
What inspired you to envision Hondajet as a concept in the beginning?
It was around 1996 when a very old textbook caught my eye while I was unpacking boxes following a move. It was a 1930s book by Ludwig Prandtl, a pioneering German physicist. As I flipped through the pages, I saw familiar airflow equations. This inspired me to ask myself, “What if two different flow fields are superimposed to create an optimum field to reduce shock waves at a high Mach number?” I thought about this for months and how I could apply it to the actual design of an aircraft. One night, after I turned the lights off and went to bed, I suddenly had an idea. I switched the light back on to try to find paper to jot it down, but I couldn’t find paper so I tore the calendar off the wall and sketched the idea on the back. This was the exact moment I had the idea to create an optimum flow field to reduce wave drag by superimposing the flow field of the engine nacelle and the wing. Specifically, I positioned the engine over the wing at an optimum location. This moment marked the beginning of my amazing journey with the Hondajet.
What types of missions are the aircraft best suited for, and how do you envision Asia-based buyers making the most out of their Hondajet?
The Hondajet is well-suited to both personal and business usage and I envision Asia-based buyers utilizing the aircraft for both of these purposes. The Hondajet flies faster, higher, is more fuel efficient, and has a larger cabin than any other business jet in its category. With the Hondajet, our customers can travel more efficiently in a quiet, luxurious and spacious cabin. Avoiding the wait times and security lines in commercial airports, Hondajet users are able to fly at their leisure as they enjoy the privacy and security of their aircraft. Also, many of our customers are owner pilots and they enjoy flying the high performing Hondajet, describing it as a sports car in the sky because of its acceleration rate, agility and stability.
Hondajet owner-operators Julian and Kim Macqueen are
a recent great example of the Hondajet being utilized for both personal and business gain. The Macqueens recently completed their “Around the World in 80 Stays” flight, where they traveled the world for inspiration for their business, Innisfree Hotels. With the Hondajet, they visited 30 countries and traveled more than 28,000 nautical miles, setting several speed records and experiencing outstanding reliability during their trip. Additionally, they were able to conveniently experience new places to gain more knowledge of the hospitality industry in areas not easily accessed through direct commercial flights.
In addition to the benefits of personal use, corporate users of the Hondajet have found the aircraft to be a productivity tool. They are able to visit several locations in a day without staying overnight which is impossible to do when they use commercial airlines. During business trips on our aircraft, our passengers are more productive in flight as they have the ability to discuss sensitive matters and work in their quiet, private space while they are en route to their destination. A recent example of this is GE Aviation’s implementation of Hondajets into their corporate fleet. After incorporating the aircraft into their fleet, they found that the Hondajet was a productivity tool for their corporation as many of their manufacturing sites cannot be reached directly by commercial airlines. They were able to take day trips to these locations and reduce travel expenses. GE Aviation’s experience is just one example of how Hondajets are changing the game for large organizations.
How did Honda Aircraft Company decide on Greensboro, North Carolina as the world headquarters and manufacturing base?
When I began developing the Hondajet, my goal was to commercialize the product and finding the best place to do this was a big decision. When setting out in my search for a location, my first thought was to find a beneficial area to sell business jets so I traveled to find the best fit. I narrowed it down to the East Coast of the United States as it would cover the majority of the business aviation market in both North America and Europe. After selecting the East Coast, Greensboro was a natural choice for Honda Aircraft Company’s world headquarters as the location could integrate all of the company’s divisions, including engineering, manufacturing, service, sales and pilot training, at one location. Additionally, the quality of the local workforce in Greensboro, the local airport’s convenience, weather and shipping logistics in the area all contributed to the decision to make Greensboro Honda Aircraft’s world headquarters. It is also rewarding to call North Carolina, the birthplace of aviation, Honda Aircraft’s home.
What are some of Hondajet's more unique capabilities compared with other aircraft in its class?
The innovations utilized on the Hondajet are significant aeronautic breakthroughs engineered by our team at Honda Aircraft and allow the Hondajet to be the most technologically advanced light jet. These innovations contribute to the aircraft’s superior performance and unparalleled efficiency, allowing the Hondajet to fly faster (422 knots) and cruise higher (43,000 ft) than any other jet in its category. They also maximize available fuselage space with comfortable seating for up to seven passengers including a pilot and a fully private lavatory, making the Hondajet’s cabin and baggage capacity the largest in its category. Additionally, the aircraft’s cockpit and avionics suite is based on an ergonomic design and enhanced situational awareness, allowing the pilot more space and greater visibility.
The most visible of the technologies incorporated on the Hondajet is the Over-the-wing Engine Mount (OTWEM). This approach differs from the conventional rear fuselage mounted engines. The aircraft’s design also features a newly developed natural laminar flow (NLF) wing and fuselage nose, which reduces aerodynamic drag. Additionally, unlike many jets that use aluminum, the Hondajet uses a lighter yet stronger composite fuselage, engineered by Honda, created from a combination of integral stiffened panel structure and honeycomb sandwich structures. Certified for single pilot operation, the cockpit features a Honda-customized Garmin G3000, a next-generation, all glass avionics system with touch screen technology that offers the pilot enhanced navigation, flight planning and control.
What's the near and long term vision for Honda Aircraft Company?
Honda Aircraft’s long term vision is to continue to create new value in business aviation and personal mobility around the globe. At our core, we are a technology company and are committed to researching and developing new technologies to provide our customers with the best travel experiences. For now, we will continue to share the Hondajet, a proven industry disruptor, with the world.
《尊翔》杂志专访本田航空公司（ Honda Aircraft Company）总裁兼首席执行官藤野道格（ Michimasa Fujino），从专业视角探讨Hondajet商务机诞生的过程及飞行体验。
大约在1996年一次搬家后，我在开箱整理东西时意外发现了一本非常旧的教科书。那是20世纪30年代德国物理学先驱路德维希·普朗特（ Ludwig Prandtl）的书。我随便翻了几页，然后看到了熟悉的气流方程，它让我不禁自问：“如果两个不同的流场叠加在一起，形成一个最佳场，是否能以高马赫数减少冲击波？”好几个月来我一直思考这个问题以及如何将其应用到飞机的实际设计中。一天晚上，当我准备关灯上床睡觉时，突然有了一个新想法。我又打开灯，想找张纸把这个想法记下来，但却找不到纸，最后就把日历从墙上撕下来，在背面画出了这个想法。就在那一刻我想到通过叠加发动机舱和机翼的流场，设计一个最佳流场以减少波阻的方法。具体来说，我将发动机放置在机翼的最佳位置，这一刻标着我开启了Hondajet不可思议的旅程。
Hondajet商务机的所有人及驾驶者朱利安·麦昆（ Julian Macqueen）与金·麦昆（ Kim Macqueen）是近期利用Hondajet在个人和商业方面受益的最佳例子。最近，麦昆完成了“80站环游世界”（ Around the World in 80 Stays）的飞行之旅，为Innisfree Hotels酒店的业务发展寻找灵感。他们驾驶着Hondajet造访了30个国家，行程超过28,000海里，创造了多项速度记录，在旅行中体验了出色的飞行可靠性。此外，他们还轻松飞向从未去过的地方，探索无直飞商业航线抵达地区的酒店行业。
除了个人用途的优势， Hondajet商务机的企业用户发现该机型是一种生产力极高的工具。他们能够在一天内拜访多地后返回，无需停留过夜，对此商业航空公司的航线难以企及。搭乘该款飞机出行，乘客的生产效率将大大提升，因为在飞向目的地的途中，他们能在安静的私人空间里讨论敏感问题和工作。例如， GE航空集团（ GE Aviation）近期将Hondajets纳入公 司机队，随后该公司发现Hondajet是一款十分得力的交通工具，能够到达许多尚未直通商业航线的生产基地。有了Hondajet，他们能够实现当日往返，减少了差旅费。GE航空集团的经验仅仅是Hondajets改变大公司工作方式的实例之一。
Hondajet采用了本田航空团队设计发明的重大突破性航空技术，并成为技术最先进的轻型喷气式飞机。这些创新有助于Hondajet实现卓越性能和无与伦比的效率，提高了其飞行速度（ 422节）和巡航速度（ 43,000英尺）。该团队还最大程度地扩大了机身可用空间，配备多达7位乘客的舒适座椅，包括一个飞行员和一个完全私密的洗手间， Hondajet客舱和行李容量为同类机型中最大。此外，该飞机的驾驶舱和航空电子设备套件基于人体工程学设计和增强型环境感知技术，可为飞行员提供更多的空间和更大的视野。
Hondajet最令人瞩目的新技术是OTWEM布局（ Over-the-wing Engine Mount）。这种方法不同于传统的后机身安装发动机。机型设计还采用了新开发的自然层流（ NLF）机翼和机身机头，可减少空气动力阻力。此外，不同于许多铝制喷气式飞机， Hondajet采用本田设计的更轻、更强的复合材料机身，由整体加强面板结构与蜂窝夹层结构组合而成。该机型已通过单一飞行员控制认证，驾驶舱配备本田定制的新一代全玻璃航空电子系统Garmin G3000，为飞行员提供增强型导航、飞行计划和控制的触摸屏技术。