NBAA 2023: Echelon, the new HondaJet

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It was at the NBAA 2023 edition that HondaJet unveiled its new business jet, the one which was not yet called Echelon but which was known as the “2600 concept”. The Echelon incorporates many of the concepts developed as part of the HA-420 program, to the point that the device will be certified as an amendment to the HA-420.

Echelon, or HA-480

Honda Aircraft unveiled the Echelon, the official name of its new light jet, at the 2023 NBAA Convention, the business aviation show currently being held in Las Vegas until October 19 . The HondaJet Echelon, previously introduced as the HondaJet 2600 Concept in 2021, wants to offer the characteristics of a mid-size jet in the light jet category. The HA-480, as it is called, uses the power configuration of its predecessor, namely Williams FJ44-4C turbojets arranged in a nacelle above the wing upper surface. The aircraft will be capable of carrying out a non-stop transcontinental flight across the United States via its autonomy, which is 2,625 nautical miles, or 4,861.5 km with four passengers and a pilot. The aircraft can offer up to 10 passenger seats.

Transcontinental single pilot

The aircraft is designed to be the world’s first capable single-pilot light jet. This offer aims to reduce operating costs. The design of the HondaJet Echelon incorporates electrification and automation of its systems, which helps increase pilot capabilities, reduce workload and improve safety. Small detail that is important, the original HondaJet (i.e. the HA-420) and the HA-480 share a number of elements in common. As a result, Echelon will be certified as an amendment to HA-420.

Flight tests planned for 2026

Since 2021 and the installation of the first structural test stand in the fourth quarter of that year, HondaJet has completed the conceptual study and preliminary design review (PDR) of the aircraft. Power-up of the HondaJet Echelon Advanced Systems Integration Test Facility (ASITF) was conducted at the company’s global headquarters in Greensboro, NC (USA) on August 30, 2023. The design detailed description of the aircraft is well advanced, with the objective of a critical design review (CDR) at the aircraft level in the summer of 2024, and the manufacturing of certain elements with long delivery times is already underway. The factory release is scheduled for early 2026, flight tests will take place during the same year, with the aim of completing certification in 2028.

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