The first customer-ready production version of Honda’s new HondaJet has taken to the skies for its maiden flight this week.
Taking off from the Piedmont Triad International Airport near the global headquarters of Honda’s air division in North Carolina, USA, the HondaJet HA-420 successfully completed an 84 minute flight.
In that time, the new passenger jet reached an altitude of 25,500 feet and a speed of 348 knots, or around around 645km/h.
That's not the HondaJet's best, though, with the roughly $4 million plane and its GE/Honda HF120 turbofan engines specified for a maximum altitude of 43,000 feet and a top speed of 420 knots (778km/h).
This week's flight included testing for "low and high speed handling characteristics, avionics and system functionality including landing gear, flaps and speed brake operations".
Prototype HondaJet aircraft have been in the air since 2003, however this week's flight marks the company's first trip in a customer model since production began in May.
"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 Aircraft Company President and CEO Michimasa Fujino said.
Designed for relatively short hops the Hondajet can take up to six passengers up to 2593km, good enough for trans-continental flights across the USA, Europe and Australia.
Nine other aircraft are already on the production line behind HondaJet #1, with Honda expecting production on all of them to be complete by the time Type Certification is achieved in 2015, with deliveries starting immediately after.
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