In a story with multiple twists and turns, fractional-ownership firm Jet It voluntarily grounded its fleet of HondaJets this week after a runway excursion on landing on May 17 that did not involve one of the company’s aircraft. Meanwhile, the HondaJet Owners and Pilots Association (HJOPA) has called for a safety stand-down meeting among its members, citing eight accidents involving HondaJets over the last 12 months, including last week’s landing accident. None involved serious injuries, and only last week’s runway overrun in Summerville, North Carolina, resulted in the aircraft being written off. It caught fire after hitting a berm. Of the remaining seven accidents, the Aviation Safety Network reported three as resulting in substantial damage, three causing minimal damage, and in two cases, the damage is listed as “unknown.” The North Carolina incident involved a relatively short 5,000-foot runway where the HondaJet is reported to have hydroplaned on rollout.

Where the story gets sticky is a history of friction between Jet It and Honda Aircraft. According to Private Jet Card Comparisons (an online resource for end users), in an email to shareowners, Jet It’s CEO Glenn Gonzales called Honda’s customer support “grossly inadequate,” after he announced plans last fall to switch from the HondaJet to the Embraer Phenom 300 light jet. Honda subsequently sued Jet It last December for an alleged breach of contract in reselling one of its Honda aircraft. The suit was settled out of court. Gonzales also told shareholders that the HJOPA wanted their aircraft to be grounded—a fact the association executive director, Julie Hughes, denies.

“We have not communicated with Jet It on this issue,” Hughes said, “and were surprised to see them inaccurately characterize our position. We do not want to ground the airplane. We believe the airplane is safe. We want to use data from the incidents as a basis for enhancing pilot training and decision making. In no way do we think the HondaJet should be grounded.”

A spokesperson for Honda Aircraft said in a statement, “Jet It’s decision to ground their HondaJet fleet was made independently by Jet It. Importantly, neither Honda Aircraft Company nor any aviation authority has recommended this grounding. Therefore, we have no comment about the decision by Jet It to ground its fleet.”

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