Flying the Improved HondaJet Elite – BJTMay 01, 2020
We're here in Greensboro, North Carolina, where Honda Jets are made, and I'm here to fly the HondaJet Elite. We are going to show you what makes the HondaJet Elite different from the original HondaJet and also some of the features that set the HondaJet apart. Apart in the light aircraft market, the smooth Honda Jet flies 1,437 nautical miles with IFR reserves and can carry up to eight occupants. One of the interesting features of the HondaJet is the engines mounted on the wings. This is a rarely used configuration in aviation and has never before been used with business aircraft.
The advantage of wing-mounted engines is that they open up a lot of space at the rear of the fuselage, allowing a full bathroom to be included. A couple of key changes are to the exterior. of the aircraft, one of the new features of the Elite is a perforated inlet where we drill a large number of small holes in the barrel and they act as an acoustic device to cancel out some of the dominant frequencies of the engine, which contributes significantly to a quieter cabin we end up extending horizontal tail, the goal was to reduce our takeoff distance, which is now approximately 500 feet shorter than a basic model.
An added benefit also is that it allows takeoff characteristics to be made a little more predictable. a little smoother in rotation with lighter forces and also allowed us to get rid of the vortex generators and T-strips we had on the tail, which reduced the drag of the plane and gave us a little more range. The changes to the external fuselage are subtle and inside the flight deck, it is only when you start
elitethat you notice the new features that include faster microprocessors and higher resolution Garmin G 3000 screens in the cockpit. The
eliteoffers a new option. kitchen with ice tanks from the coffee maker and plenty of storage space, today we carried 1980 pounds of fuel, about 1,000 pounds less than the maximum load for today's flight.
We are Honda's test 12. It only took five minutes to go from power-up to completion of all pre-flight checks, including systems testing that ended with the stick shaker, the new elite feature is graphical weight and balance calculations in the avionics, the HondaJet legacy could only do load calculations but not balance; connected the weight of the crew and one passenger plus a small amount of luggage after sinking the The fuel displayed by the gauges, the MFD showed our weight and balanced envelope and the changes due to our projected fuel consumption. Flight planning is easy, especially for pilots who have learned to fly with Garmin avionics.
Another elite new feature is takeoff and landing data in the avionics. Performance calculations are much simpler once I selected our takeoff configuration, for example if we needed icing equipment on the system showed us our reference speed or V. These are about 5 knots slower than the HondaJet inherited thanks to aerodynamic and weight improvements, this translates into less track. required for takeoff and landing and also better safety margins, this also calculates the second segment climb wind components, an initial altitude level, if applicable, once I accepted these numbers, the V speeds are automatically published in the PFDs airspeed tape, starting the 2050 pound thrust GE honda hf 120 Turbofans are simple: press the start button until the green circle lights up, then release the throttle latch and pull it to idle , then simply look at the gauges checking the takeoff and landing data to make sure the flap settings match what we selected during flight deck setup.
In flight planning, if they do not match when advancing the throttles, we would get a takeoff warning due to the failed configuration. This is a useful feature for a single pilot, something that is common in much larger aircraft. New avionics hardware has faster processors. so when you zoom or pan the map it's instantaneous on test one to runway two three right line up and wait on test one two three thirty our flight track heading runway two three right cleared for takeoff you're cleared to take off and they advance the throttles to full power and the HF 120 engines push to stabilize, but the nose feels a little lighter when turning thanks to the larger horizontal stabilizer and once a year the pitch control feels a little sharper with a DSP as part of the standard. team we can easily see the rest of the traffic on the MFD switching to the traffic page makes it even easier to see the rest of the traffic and their trajectories climbing through 17,000 feet to flight level at 3-0 I finally put the pilot on auto on the HondaJet handles so well that I'm reluctant to use autopilot, the NEXRAD data is now animated so you can get a better idea of how storms develop during the climb.
We detected some ice buildup, so the antifreeze in the wings and tail inlets activated automatically. We are authorized to ascend. flight level 3 1-0 where we will do a performance check. Stephan showed me how easy it is to activate the environmental controls in the flight deck and the cabin temperature after turning off the engine. Inlet anti-icing climb rate increased to approximately 2,000 feet per minute starting at 1200, the fuel system synoptic showing the Elite's new fuel capacity. The central tank is regulated to keep it not full. First supplied by the fuselage fuel tank. We are burning just over 500 pounds per hour per engine during the climb we did.
Head over to the dedicated weather page to see any additional weather information we might have on the MFD map. There are only certain weather overlays that we can see. Another new feature is the progress page in Leh. Stephan says this is useful when you fly outside of the US, where there are more mandatory position reporting points. This looks a lot like an MMS progress page and is something new for Garmin avionics. A new feature for electronic stability and protection or ESP is the pitch ladder on the PFD which displays the pitch attitude that would result in stick shaker.
This makes it easy to tell if the speed is dropping too low and pilots can use it to avoid wind shear and extract maximum performance while
flyingat stick shake speed if you slow down too much, although the ESP will push the controls to remind the pilot to move forward and accelerate is +7 degrees at flight level 3 1 0 and we are cruising at 414 knots with maximum continuous thrust and burning 500 pounds per hour per engine if we were at the maximum altitude of flight level 4 3 0 we would burn almost 600 pounds per hour for both engines in a high speed cruise of 550 pounds per hour for both engines in a long-range cruise Handy cruise control adjusts the n1 speed to maintain a fixed speed, a convenient feature for an airplane without autothrottles, cruise control is useful in the area of the terminal, for example, where we could reduce speed to 170 knots, then set the speed control to keep them moving the thrust levers, turn off the speed control.
I turned off the autopilot and flew some curves to feel the handling at altitude the controls feel a little heavier in high speed cruise which is to be expected after receiving the ADIS for Greensboro we preset the altimeter settings so that be ready to change when we descend below flight level 180 zero, we are authorized to do so. 11,000 feet at the intersection of the runways, so we set up a V-navigation there when we captured the vertical path. I just had to remove the power to avoid overspeeding on the descent. We calculated the landing speeds we had already plugged in on arrival at runway 2 3.
At that point we loaded the SiriusXM weather and it gave us the landing distance V ref etc. I set up the 2 to 3 visual approach. It's just another procedure at the bottom of the list, after the regular approaches, we set it up with vectors, it's a 3.-degree glide path, but it doesn't consider if there's terrain, the controller Air traffic gave us a lockout of 8,500 to 10,500 feet to do some aerial work with the autopilot on. I descended to 9,500 feet and put the power to idle to show low. speed protection: This is like the classic situation where a distracted rider forgets to add power after leveling off first.
We receive visual and auditory alerts and the ESP lowers the nose to avoid stalling and recover forward power to achieve maximum continuous thrust. The ESP will rotate the wings to level 2 if we were in a curve with the power at idle. I can see the shaker speed in the speed date and angle of attack going up, the oil warning said airspeed and then the nose pushed down to just a few knots above the shaker speed we were at. descending at approximately 1,200 feet per minute after adding power to maximum continuous, then the aircraft automatically returns to the selected altitude because the autopilot is still on.
I disengaged the autopilot for some sharp turns at 200 knots, turning left first. I could feel the ESP. Push at 45 degree tilt I could easily fly through the push, you can disable the ESP if you want, but it defaults back on when starting, then I back off to feel the stick shaker and low speed protection mode in the PFD. I could see the The pitch attitude matches the feathers of his shaker stick before a warning says airspeed and the shakers are displayed. Then I could feel the push of the ESP. Weeds finished a rudder demonstration. Stephane cut the power on one engine and it's really a non-event, the helm looks. the calculated thrust difference between two engines and their airspeed and applies force according to a predefined schedule.
It's not really evident during this demonstration that the engines are mounted on the wings instead of the aft fuselage. Upon returning to Greensboro, we activated vectors to finish the visual approach. which paints an extended centerline for the selected runway, although this is not an IFR approach. You could fly it as an R navigation approach and even use the autopilot in an approach mode. The HondaJet can fly steeper approaches up to 6.6 5 degrees. I flew right up. a V repeat speed of 108 knots 1 way to 3 right, the landing data showed that we needed only 3,162 feet of the 9,000-foot runway for the actual landing distance.
Our landing weight was approximately eight thousand nine hundred pounds. The HondaJet felt comfortable in the harmonious controls at low speed, just a small amount of nose up as we approached the runway was enough to set us up for a soft landing and I applied the upgraded brakes which are very smooth for turning in. the next intersection.
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