Plenty of automakers have backgrounds in aircraft manufacturing. BMW, Bristol, Mitsubishi, Saab and Spyker all started out in the airplane business. But Honda is going the opposite direction, expanding its automotive (not to mention motorcycle, ATV, marine engine and power equipment) business with the launch of the HondaJet. And that project has just taken a big step forward.

After starting production a year and a half ago, the Japanese industrial giant recently completed its first customer HondaJet, and has now taken that initial production aircraft to the skies for its landmark first flight. The aircraft left the production facility in Greensboro and took off on Friday morning from Piedmont Triad International Airport in North Carolina – the same state where the Wright Brothers undertook their first flight over a century ago.

The HondaJet undertook an 84-minute test flight, climbing to 15,500 feet and reaching a speed of 348 knots. That works out to 400 miles per hour – assuredly faster than any Honda (save for maybe a prototype for the same aircraft) has traveled before. The aircraft is designed to cruise at a maximum of 420 knots (483 mph) and reach a maximum altitude of 43,000 feet.

Over 1,000 staff members were on the tarmac when it landed to celebrate the milestone. The next step is to receive FAA type certification, after which the first customers will take delivery of their aircraft next year.
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First Production HondaJet Takes to the Skies
Flight Marks Milestone Toward Entry into Service in 2015

06/27/2014 - GREENSBORO, N.C.

Honda Aircraft Company announced today that the first production HondaJet achieved its initial flight, marking another milestone toward aircraft certification and entry into service in 2015. The event took place at the company's world headquarters in Greensboro, North Carolina.

"With this first flight, the HondaJet program has entered the next exciting phase as we prepare for delivery," said Honda Aircraft Company President and CEO Michimasa Fujino. "Today's celebration is the culmination of extensive engineering and production efforts, and this is an important achievement in bringing the world's most advanced light jet to market."

The first production aircraft lifted off from the Piedmont Triad International Airport (KGSO) at 10:18 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time. During the 84-minute flight, the aircraft climbed to 15,500 feet and reached a speed of 348 Knots True Airspeed (KTAS). Following a smooth landing, the aircraft and its crew were greeted by more than 1,000 Honda Aircraft team members to commemorate the milestone.

The aircraft was flown by test pilot Warren Gould, pilot-in-command. The crew completed several checks during the flight including low and high speed handling characteristics, avionics and system functionality including landing gear, flaps and speed brake operations.

This aircraft is finished in the new signature HondaJet paint scheme in a deep green pearl with a gold stripe. The new color introduction is in addition to four exterior color options available to customers, which also include silver, red, yellow and blue.

Aircraft production continues its steady pace in advance of entry into service. This steady build-up supports the company's objective to have aircraft ready for delivery immediately after Federal Aviation Administration type certification is achieved. The HondaJet will be single-pilot certified and is currently offered for sale in North America and Europe through the HondaJet dealer network.

The HondaJet is the world's most advanced light jet, and its distinctive design incorporates advanced technologies and concepts. The HondaJet patented Over-The-Wing Engine Mount (OTWEM) configuration, natural laminar flow wing, and composite fuselage were developed from long-term research activities. These innovations combine to make the HondaJet the fastest, most spacious and most fuel-efficient jet in its class.

The HondaJet flies at a maximum cruise speed of 420 knots (483 mph) and has a maximum altitude of 43,000 feet. The aircraft seats up to five passengers in a standard configuration and can travel at an NBAA IFR range of 1,180 nautical miles (1,357 miles).

For more information on the world's most advanced light jet, visit www.HondaJet.com.

About HondaJet
The HondaJet is the world's most advanced light business jet aircraft, with best-in-class advantages in performance, comfort, quality and efficiency. The HondaJet is the fastest, highest-flying, quietest, and most fuel-efficient jet in its class. The HondaJet incorporates many technological innovations in aviation design, including the unique Over-The-Wing Engine Mount (OTWEM) configuration that dramatically improves performance and fuel efficiency by reducing aerodynamic drag. The OTWEM design also reduces cabin sound, minimizes ground-detected noise, and allows for the roomiest cabin in its class, the largest baggage capacity, and a fully serviceable private aft lavatory. The HondaJet is powered by two highly fuel-efficient GE Honda HF120 turbofan jet engines, and is equipped with the most sophisticated glass flight deck available in any light business jet, a Honda-customized Garmin® G3000 next-generation, all-glass avionics system composed of three 14-inch landscape-format displays and dual touch-screen controllers. The HondaJet is Honda's first commercial aircraft and lives up to the company's reputation for superior performance, efficiency, quality and value.

Honda Aircraft Company
Honda Aircraft Company, LLC, is a wholly owned subsidiary of American Honda Motor Co., Inc. Founded in 2006, Honda Aircraft has its heritage in more than 20 years of groundbreaking aeronautical research and development. At Honda Aircraft's world headquarters in North Carolina, the birthplace of aviation, the company's associates work in more than 600,000 square feet of state-of-the-art R&D, production, administration and customer service facilities to develop, produce, market and support the HondaJet with HondaJet dealers. The challenging spirit upon which Mr. Soichiro Honda founded Honda Motor Co., Ltd. is alive today as Honda Aircraft fulfills one of Honda's longstanding dreams to advance human mobility skyward.


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  • 68 Comments
      coskun
      • 5 Months Ago
      Any such development is a welcome sign for the already struggling General Aviation activity in the US.
      inuvik
      • 5 Months Ago
      Congratulations to Honda for staying the course and working towards certification. It cannot be discounted the complexity and difficulty of getting a new model certified. It truly is a 10-20 year process. I can see this jet being huge in the fractional time share market. Fuel efficiency and compact size make this jet a real draw for mid to upper level execs who fly to multiple operation sites here in the USA. I see this as having real potential to upend the small business jet class.
        AP1_S2K
        • 5 Months Ago
        @inuvik
        cool, it seems like you know a little about the market. So can I ask you a question: is the HondaJet a substantially better product? Is it nominal? From what I've seen or researched, they claim to be 35% more fuel efficient than their competitors? If that's the case, that is substantial, but that number is probably incorrect.
      Avinash Machado
      • 5 Months Ago
      Kudos Honda.
      carguy1701
      • 5 Months Ago
      Well I'll be damned, the thing finally flew. How much have they sunk into this thing? Also, I'm surprised they still have customers, thanks to all the delays.
      Brady Williams
      • 5 Months Ago
      And this is car news how? Is the next article going to be on a new honda generator Or a new tv by Mitsubishi
        Firefly
        • 5 Months Ago
        @Brady Williams
        If said generator is powered by the v-6 from the NSX then, yeah...
      express2day
      • 5 Months Ago
      No manual transmission?? No thanks!! /S
      Jim
      • 5 Months Ago
      Silly looking little thing Unless it's priced WAY under comparable private jets (not sure if there is anything that small), and it can use a very short runway, I see no real practical reason for anyone to buy it
        churchmotor
        • 5 Months Ago
        @Jim
        Sounds like you are an expert. So break down the competitors cost for maintenance, fuel cost, cruising range etc. Show us why you came to this conclusion.
          churchmotor
          • 5 Months Ago
          @churchmotor
          As always, KnightFlight_6 adds ZERO to the discussion.
          NightFlight
          • 5 Months Ago
          @churchmotor
          Of course you are in here to white knight anything Honda makes.
        JaredN
        • 5 Months Ago
        @Jim
        Jim, if you do a bit of research, you'll see that the HondaJet has some very compelling specifications, particularly in terms of fuel efficiency and speed.
        AP1_S2K
        • 5 Months Ago
        @Jim
        "Silly looking little thing".....have you ever said "that dun thing with four wheels looks damn silly too, i'll stick with my horse"?
      ken
      • 5 Months Ago
      This is a big reason why Honda is lagging in new model development. This money pit, along with useless fuel cell research and pointless F1 program, is bleeding Honda dry.
        EXP Jawa
        • 5 Months Ago
        @ken
        Do you have data on their spending habits and priorities?
        badabingbadaboom
        • 5 Months Ago
        @ken
        All of these programs provide valuable R&D which is applicable to regular cars. Racing cars gave us the start button, automatic clutch transmissions, multilink suspension, disc brakes, Dual Overhead Camshafts, seat belts, etc.. Engineers being allowed to push the envelop allows them to find creative fixes that they would never have.
      ferps
      • 5 Months Ago
      On the one hand, Honda brags about their green credentials and the high mileage of their automobiles. OTOH, they make this private jet, which is almost certainly the least efficient and most polluting way for anyone to transport themselves.
      skiligM
      • 5 Months Ago
      It needs a spoiler. Then, the world will know it's a honda.
        reattadudes
        • 5 Months Ago
        @skiligM
        perhaps some nice wheels, er sorry..."rims" would be in order, too. it seems many of our mentally challenged friends skipped over some of the finer points of their grammar and vocabulary lessons. a wheel HAS a rim (just like a cup), but a rim is NOT a wheel.
      srlalsd1
      • 5 Months Ago
      Nice. In this class the Honda jet is the quickest and the most fuel efficient.
      11fiveoh
      • 5 Months Ago
      Last thing you want is the first jet.
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