The first production version of the highly anticipated HondaJet flew for the first time in late June, bringing the aircraft one step closer to first deliveries in 2015. The company says that production is on schedule for the twin-engine light jet. Its engines are fuel-efficient GE Honda HF120 turbines, developed over 10 years by the two companies working in partnership. The engines are distinctively mounted above the wings, placement that HondaJet says dramatically improves the aircraft’s performance and fuel efficiency by reducing aerodynamic drag. The unique configuration also reduces cabin sound and minimizes noise on takeoff, the company says.
The $4.5 million jet will be available in five colors, and with the debut of the production version, the company now has one in each color in its fleet. The newest jet is deep green with a gold stripe; the other choices are red, silver, yellow, and blue. The jet flies at a maximum cruise speed of 483 mph, at altitudes up to 43,000 feet, with a range of about 1,350 miles. A single pilot can fly the jet, and it seats as many as five passengers. HondaJet will provide training for pilots and mechanics at its headquarters in Greensboro, N.C. The company expects to deliver as many as 55 jets in the first year of production, which is currently booked for two years. (www.hondajet.com)