Echelon Is A Bigger, Faster Honda Light Jet

Entry into service is targeted for 2028.

Honda Aircraft recently provided more details and a name for its next business jet program, the light-jet category HondaJet Echelon.

With transcontinental range of 2,625 nautical miles, the Echelon features the unique over-the-wing-engine-mount design of the HondaJet. By mounting the engines on pylons on the wings, engineers can maximize space in the jet’s rear cabin because systems that are required for the engines are also installed in the wings, not in the aft fuselage. This design also reduces noise in the cabin and has aerodynamic benefits that help improve the airplane’s efficiency. 

The Echelon will be certified as an amendment to the original HondaJet’s type certificate, and the two airplanes will also share a common type rating, so pilots will be able to fly both versions.

Honda Aircraft has already received signed letters of intent for more than 350 Echelons, according to Amod Kelkar, Honda Aircraft chief commercial officer and Echelon program manager. Many buyers are owner-pilots, including existing HondaJet owners, and others are fractional-share and charter operators. "Our job now is to deliver that product to customers who are eager to get their hands on it,” Kelkar said.

The engineering team completed the Echelon’s preliminary design review earlier this year, and critical design review is planned for summer 2024. Fabrication has begun at Honda Aircraft’s Greensboro, North Carolina, headquarters, and rollout of the first Echelon is scheduled for early 2026. Flight testing should begin in that year, and certification and entry into service are targeted for 2028. 

Honda Aircraft is collaborating with Honda North America Automotive Design on the Echelon’s furnishings. The interior will be available in three configurations, executive, dual club, and divan. Club-facing seats will be 84 inches from seatback to seatback. Compared with the HondaJet Elite II, the Echelon fuselage will be 4.5 inches taller and one inch wider, with an additional 5.5 inches at shoulder height and seven inches at the bottom of the seats. Both designs have a trenched center aisle.

According to Honda Aircraft, the Echelon should be 20 percent more efficient “on typical missions” than other light jets and 40 percent better than midsize jets.