Honda Aircraft Company's first business jet logged its maiden flight today, ahead of its expected certification and entry into service in 2015. The event took place at the company's world headquarters in Greensboro, North Carolina in the United States, a company statement said.
The first production aircraft, which lifted off from the Piedmont Triad International Airport (KGSO) at 10:18 am (EDT), climbed to 15,500 feet and reached a speed of 348 Knots True Airspeed (KTAS) during the 84-minute flight, and made a smooth landing.
''With this first flight, the HondaJet programme 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 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. This is in addition to four exterior colour options available to customers, which include silver, red, yellow and blue.
Aircraft production at the Honda facility is continuing at a 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,'' it said.
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 release said.
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), the release added.