Honda Aircraft Company announced on May 26 the new Elite S model, with a 200-pound payload increase, upgraded avionics capabilities, and new color schemes. In a virtual launch, Honda Aircraft Company president and CEO Michimasa Fujino called the model “the next iteration of the HondaJet to expand operational capability. As a result of the innovation, design and engineering on the new Elite S, we are once again setting a new standard in business aviation.”
The payload improvement stems from an increased maximum takeoff weight by 200 pounds. Fujino noted that a single pilot with 5 passengers would fly 120 nm farther or could choose to take an additional passenger.
Upgrades to the flight deck include improvements to the “pilot-machine interface,” according to Fujino, with new features in the Garmin G3000 suite to reduce pilot workload and enhance safety. First among these is the addition of FAA Data Comm capability—usable where it’s available in the US—which replaces voice communications with text commands. The system can also utilize ACARS text-based messaging, to air traffic control and ATS centers. From ACARS, pilots can access terminal weather and departure clearances from select airports and communicate with operations centers, with the ability to upload flight plans, facilitate position reporting, and gather weather. The system can be used as third VHF radio if the Data Comm function is turned off. Another upgrade: the Advanced Steering Augmentation System—implemented through enhanced nosewheel steering—which increases operational limits and reduces pilot workload in specific weather conditions.
Three new colors are now available with the Elite S in a “unique paint scheme” deemed to represent the “spirit of Honda”— expanding the horizon of the business jet. Gunmetal, Deep Sea Blue, and Luxe Gold can be selected along with a new logo announcing the model with a bold red “S.” Honda would not disclose the serial number at which the model change would occur, but indicated June 2021 availability. Honda delivered 5 HondaJets in the first quarter of 2021, according to GAMA.