[Aviation Today June 30, 2014] Honda Aircraft Co.'s first production jet completed its maiden flight, a milestone that will bring the airframe manufacturer closer to its goal of getting the aircraft certified and entered into service in 2015.
According to a company statement, the first production version of the HondaJet completed an 84 minute flight from its headquarters in Greesboro, N.C. During the flight, the aircraft climbed to 15,500 feet and reached 348 Knots True Airspeed (KTAS).
Honda said the flight crew was able to complete several checks during the flight, including low and high speed handling characteristics, landing gear and the functionality of the Garmin G3000 all-glass avionics system. The company is looking to achieve single pilot certification for the aircraft, which it currently offers for sale in North America and Europe.
The aircraft has a unique design, with the engines mounted over the wing instead of under it, in an effort to maximize cabin space which holds a total of five passengers.
Honda will face stiff competition from North American competitor Cessna when the HondaJet is ready to enter service. Cessna also has a new entrant into the light business jet segment this year, with the Citation M2 which recently received certification from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). The M2 features a similar range and cockpit with the G3000, and also features cabin room for more passengers and the ability to operate at airports with runways as short as 3,210 feet.
Michimasa Fujino, president of Honda's aircraft division said the first production flight "is an important achievement in bringing the world’s most advanced light jet to market."