The first HondaJet business jet recently completed its initial flight, signaling progress toward Federal Aviation Authority certification and entry to commercial service next year, according Honda Aircraft. The flight was conducted at the airport in Greensboro, N.C., where Honda Aircraft has its world headquarters and a manufacturing plant and maintenance center.
Honda Motor Co. established Honda Aircraft Company LLC in 2006 to produce business jets according to its own design, though production was delayed several times. The business is a a wholly owned subsidiary of American Honda Motor Co. Inc.
The business has been in development for more than a decade though, with the prototype aircraft having made its first flight in 2003. Honda committed to a commercial-scale in 2006, and started the manufacturing program in Greensboro in 2012.
The first production aircraft completed an 84-minute flight, climbing to 15,500 feet and reaching a speed of 348 Knots True Airspeed (KTAS.) The crew completed several checks during the flight, including low- and high-speed handling characteristics, avionics, and system functionality, the latter including landing gear, flaps, and speed brake operations. The landing was smooth, Honda Aircraft reported.
"With this first flight, the HondaJet program has entered the next exciting phase as we prepare for delivery," stated Honda Aircraft 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."
Honda noted that its jet manufacturing program is proceeding at a steady pace toward next year’s entry to service, after FAA certification has been gained.
Earlier this year the company was reported to have booked more than 100 orders the business jets. It is available in North America and Europe through a HondaJet dealer network.