The company is calling its appropriately named HondaJet “the world’s most advanced light jet.” That claim may be debatable, but one that’s not is the fact that this is an important milestone in the development of an aircraft.
An assembly line is already in place, and major assemblies like fuselages and wings have been put together and the line is rolling. Just like with its cars, Honda is focusing on quality, and lean manufacturing. They’ve even implemented a new way of guiding workers. Rather than reams of printed materials, directions are clearly and graphically illustrated on tablet computers. Another advantages of this method is the ability to update the instructions in real time should something change.
Honda is borrowing other tricks from the automotive side of its business. Engineers have developed a way to paint multiple aircraft at one time, an innovation that improves color consistency. Also, computer-controlled carts carry parts to different areas of the assembly line.
Honda’s goal with developing this business-class jet was to deliver a product with maximum interior space, minimal fuel consumption and low noise levels. The company claims it’s the fastest, roomiest and most efficient aircraft in its class. Two features that help deliver these promises are a lightweight composite fuselage and the unique placement of its engines. Unlike other aircraft they’re mounted on pods above the wings.
The company may have started producing its first commercial HondaJet, but they are not ready to start selling them just yet. They’ve already performed an exhaustive battery of tests on the aircraft but it still requires certification by the Federal Aviation Administration before any can be delivered to customers.