As if Honda of Japan didn’t have its fingers in enough pies, it seems that it is finally poised to take on the aviation industry. Long a dream of founder Soichiro Honda, Honda Jet’s development began several years before his death in 1991 and has only just now received FAA final approval for production of its first business jet, the Honda HA-420. The plane was entirely designed and built in its US based facility in Greensboro, North Carolina, and is expected to enjoy robust sales in the North American market.
Despite a soft post 2008 market for business jets, and numerous delays in production since an initial target in 2007, Honda has finally delivered a unique market proposition that targets a high end customer with luxury and style, but at an entry level price for similar offerings. For a mere $4.5 million, you can have one of the most unique, stylized personal business jets ever built, able to fly almost 500 mph and seat 7. Honda claims its plane is lighter, faster and more fuel-efficient than competitors that include brand names like Cessna and Embraer of Brazil.
The Honda HA-420 is a work of art inside and out. Designed and evangelized by Honda engineer Michimasa Fujino (now Honda Aircraft Co.’s CEO), the jet offers unique style and innovation. The two GE engines made specially for the jet each offer 2000 lbs of thrust and are positioned above the wings instead of below them. The porpoise-like nose design is said to have been inspired by a Salvadore Ferragamo high-heel shoe. The high tech plane is expected to appeal to the entrepreneur who sees the jet as an expression of innovation, accomplishment, and unique personal style.
CPI Thermal Switch Solution – The M2 Plugstat
Another inspired decision by Honda Aircraft team was the decision to use CPI’s M2 thermal switch to help control critical hydraulic fluid distribution systems. While the actual design of the Honda jet hydraulic systems are proprietary, hydraulic fluid typically resides in a reservoir and is routed to various systems that power everything from wing surfaces to brakes. The M2146 was created from our Plugstat line of glass-sealed thermal switches, designed for slow make and break applications from 0 to 650 F with very close tolerance temperature sensing. In Aircraft hydraulic systems this switch can be used to reliably operate temperature driven flow valves on various hydraulic reservoirs once a temperature limit is exceeded.
The M2146 used on the Honda jet is almost a completely standard part, modified only to provide a mil-spec connector interface. In general all CPI thermal switches can be engineered cost effectively to provide custom connectivity and electrical interfaces.
We heard that the first customer order was delivered by Honda only days before Christmas. The fellow had ordered it almost a decade ago. Well I guess anything that special is worth waiting for.
Happy Holidays from everyone at CPI to you and yours.