After months of debate and speculation, we have a winner. Honda Aircraft received the inaugural Flying Innovation Award on Monday night at a party in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, hosted by the magazine on the picturesque shores of Lake Winnebago.
In awarding the prize, Flying Editor-in-Chief Stephen Pope said the HondaJet was selected as the first Flying Innovation Award winner for its long list of ingenious design features. One of the most obvious is the over-the-wing engine mount, which moves the engine noise away from the cabin, allowing passengers to fly in comfort. With the removal of structural engine mount supports from the fuselage, there is also more space for the passengers and luggage inside. A sizable lavatory, complete with skylights, provides additional comfort.
The over-the-wing engine mount also helps reduce drag. This in combination with the light jet’s natural laminar flow wing and nose design, which also significantly reduces drag, help bring the airplane to a top speed of 422 knots. Propulsion is provided by two Fadec-controlled Honda GE HF120 engines, specifically designed for the HondaJet, incorporate the latest technology for efficiency and noise.
The HondaJet makes the pilot’s job as easy as it can be in a business jet, with color-coded systems diagrams incorporated into the Garmin G3000 avionics for quick systems evaluations, simple menus for initialization, and automation galore, reducing the workload in all phases of flight.
“On behalf of the Honda Aircraft Company, I am incredibly honored to receive this prestigious award,” said Honda Aircraft President & CEO Michimasa Fujino. “We are proud that HondaJet has been recognized for its innovative design and advanced technologies by such a prestigious aviation industry publication.”
“It’s fitting that the HondaJet won the first-ever Flying Innovation Award as it embodies innovation in aviation,” said Flying Editor-in-Chief Stephen Pope. “The HondaJet shows what can transpire with hard work. Honda Aircraft did an amazing job not only with the airplane but also the manufacturing facilities in North Carolina and the engine company it created with GE. It’s an incredible story.”
Honda Aircraft competed for the Innovation Award against a tough field that included the Piper M600, CubCrafters XCub, Dynon D10A EFIS, Garmin G5 EFIS and SiriusXM SXAR1 portable satellite weather receiver, each of which received a 2016 Flying Editors’ Choice Award.