We are used to seeing most jet aircraft engines either on each side of the rear of the fuselage, or in the case of tri-jets, with the third engine at the base of the fin or vertical stabiliser. But more commonly below the wings.
However, for the HondaJet, the first of which has just been delivered, the Japanese aircraft manufacturer has opted to set the twin engines on pylons high above the wings (Over-The-Wing Engine Mount / OTWEM). They are mounted directly onto, but well above the wing, as seen in this image, making it an easily recognizable aircraft.
Michimasa Fujino, the founding president and CEO of Honda Aircraft Company, had the idea for this concept way back in 1997. It took him a further twenty years to make it happen, but it incorporates many benefits compared to a conventional engine position.
In attaching the engines in this way, the cabin interior is quieter, since noise emissions are displaced away from the cabin. The system also reduces drag and therefore improves fuel efficiency. Finally, in deciding not to place the engines on the rear of the fuselage, Honda gains a more spacious cabin and cargo hold, giving the latter a 66 cubic feet (20 cubic metres) volume.
With a selling price of $ 4.5 million apiece, over a hundred orders have been received for the plane. If the HondaJet proves as reliable as the group’s cars and motorcycles, a promising future is in store for their first five-seater jet.