The HondaJet 2600 Has an Unrivaled 47,000-Foot Flight Ceiling

And it can traverse the continental US in one trip.
Chris Young

Honda is taking its technological know-how to the skies. The Honda Aircraft Company, a subsidiary of the Japanese automaker, debuted a new aircraft called the HondaJet 2600 Concept at the National Business Aviation Association's BACE in Las Vegas this week.

The concept aircraft was designed to be able to cross the whole of the United States in a single trip and at altitudes never reached by a light jet, a press statement reveals. The HondaJet 2600 will have a range of 2,625 nautical miles (3,020 miles), making it "the world’s first light jet capable of nonstop transcontinental flight across the United States," according to Honda Aircraft Company.

The aircraft will reach a maximum cruising speed of 450 knots and it will have a "class-leading" flight ceiling of 47,000 feet — for reference, most private jets fly at around 41,000 feet. The company also says its aircraft will be 20 percent more fuel-efficient than equivalent aircraft. These specifications are impressive, though its worth stressing that Honda's new jet is only in the concept phase, meaning it's not really achieving any of the world firsts it highlights in its press statement.

'Efficient transcontinental flight'

To achieve Honda's ambitious goals, the HondaJet 2600 will feature an over-the-wing engine mount configuration, improved Natural Laminar Flow technology on its nose and wings, and a carbon composite fuselage. The aircraft will also have the capacity to carry 11 passengers and the cockpit will include advanced autonomous flight features such as autothrottle and autobrake. Honda says these autonomous systems make the HondaJet 2600 the "first transcontinental jet designed for single-pilot operation."

"The HondaJet 2600 Concept, which enables efficient transcontinental flight, offers a new level of cabin comfort and capacity, and dramatically reduces CO2 emissions, we are introducing a new generation of business jets," Honda Aircraft Company CEO Michimasa Fujino said in the company's statement.

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Though the HondaJet 2600 is an exciting proposition, the concept aircraft is unlikely to go into production any time in the near future. Unfortunately, it could be just as far off as many of the prototype cars — such as the Honda Air and Honda FC Sport cars — on the long list of concepts Honda has compiled since it was founded in 1946. Still, concepts typically act as a testbed for new designs and technologies, meaning the some of the ideas devised for Honda's new long-range light jet concept could make it to other of the Japanese firm's new aircraft. 

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