In late May, we published a story about Honda’s years-long venture to commercialize business jet manufacturing. At the time our team wrote the blog, Honda began ground testing with the Federal Aviation Administration and maintained aspirations to be in the air by late summer. It seems that the Japanese automaker, always surpassing expectations, accomplished its first objective just this past weekend with a maiden flight.
Honda partnered with General Electric in 2003 to begin developing turbofans, which are now installed on the HondaJet and give the aircraft a unique look. The company, however, did not announce intentions to actually build a fully-functioning jet until 2006. Honda is now already ahead of certification and anticipated delivery dates.
“With this first flight, the HondaJet program has entered the next exciting phase as we prepare for delivery,” Honda Aircraft president and CEO Michimasa Fujino said. “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.”
This maiden voyage lasted 84 minutes near the global headquarters of Honda Aircraft, the aviation subsidiary of the automotive goliath, located in Greensboro, North Carolina. This flight allows Honda to further test FFA standards and move toward pertinent certifications to allow it to sell the aircraft, which will only be available to American and European markets.
Here are just a few of the items on the FFA’s checklist for safety:
- Flap actuation system and speed brake operation throughout the flight
- Hydraulic systems control
The luxury jet seats up to five passengers, all placed in standard configuration, and has a maximum cruise speed of 483 MPH and a top altitude of 43,000 feet. This first generation of the HondaJet costs $4.5 million, and the company boasts more than 100 orders from businesses and wealthy clients.