Honda taught the world how to drive in compact fuel-efficient urban runners. Now it's doing the same with private jets. HondaJet made its first flight on December 20 and promises to add new spice in the race to bottom of fuel efficiency. Some 20 percent more efficient than its equivalents, the 7 seater is also quieter, lighter and IMHO much cooler looking.
Four innovations are at the core of its success:
1. An over-the-wing mount that reduces drag at high speed.
2. Improved air-flow over the nose and wing, which Honda is calling Natural Laminar Flow, the result of endless aerodynamic tests.
3. A honey-combed all composite fuselage, making it lighter and easier to manufacture.
4. Improved turbo-fan engine that raises the thrust-weight ratio, improving power and range.
The jet will be in service in 2012 and can be yours for just US$4.5 million. Expect to see a flying Civic near you soon.