1:03 PM

Is Honda still just toying with us?

Honda just loves to slap us around regarding the never-ending “debut” of the Hondajet. At last year’s EAA Bratfest, the H-jet made a very, very brief appearance, and as fast as it arrived – poof – it was gone. The quick exit made many think that Honda might not be really serious about building personal jets. But a story from EAA today says things are going to be different in '06:

At EAA's Annual Airventure 2006 in Oshkosh, Honda plans to display the H-jet as the centerpiece in an expanded Honda Pavilion, complimented by motorcycles and even Formula One race cars.
So logic tells me that if they were still on the fence about actually selling Hondajets, they sure wouldn’t be aiming the focus of the world’s aviation media directly on their uber-beautiful design. This smells like the natural progression of things, from a company who senses that things are about to change radically in the VLJ markets when Eclipse earns FAA certification this summer and by default will start hogging the national media spotlight.

Since the day I read that General Electric and Honda had teamed up to create Honda Aero, Inc. and develop small jet engines in their Reston, Virginia facility, I have bet that we will indeed see a Honda aircraft for sale in America. Like most Japanese companies, Honda will never jump quickly into anything. They are smart, calculating businessmen who came late to the party with a full-sized pickup, and because of that, the Ridgeline is mostly an afterthought in the PU markets.

So if they drag their heels on a VLJ, there will be many other companies that will get a great foothold on market share, leaving Honda to fight for even a few percentage points. This might explain the ramped up feeling I am getting by reading the news of their increased exposure at Oshkosh.

I know one thing right now about Honda: I finally broke down and bought a Husqvarna lawnmower that has a nice, dependable Honda four-cycle engine. The damned thing can sit all winter, and starts first pull in the spring. Runs perfectly, what more could I ask? I’ve owned many Honda motorcycles over the years, and all performed flawlessly and never, ever left me stranded.

Should Honda get serious about building the H-jet with the same commitment to dependable quality that they have shown over the years with everything else they build, we will see a new benchmark for fit, finish and high dispatch rates achieved that the rest of the industry will be forced to attain.

Q: Would I buy a Hondajet? A: If I had enough Lotto money to drop cash on a jet in that price range, I certainly would test-fly one on my way to the Cessna Mustang and Eclipse dealers.

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