Honda is officially shipping jets for the first time. The ceremonial first delivery of the HondaJet executive light jet was recently made at the world headquarters of Honda Aircraft Company in Greensboro, North Carolina.
The milestone came on December 23, two weeks after HondaJet received type certification from the US Federal Aviation Administration for a craft that Honda claims is the fastest (at 420 knots or 483 mph) and most efficient in its class. It also comes a little less than a year and half since we covered the jet’s first test flight.
The company credits the HondaJet’s performance and efficiency to its configuration, with engines mounted over “natural-laminar flow” wings and fuselage made from lightweight composite materials rather than aluminum. It says a “combination of co-cured integral structure and honeycomb sandwich structures […] results in increased cabin space, better performance, and greater fuel efficiency.”
Honda teamed with GE to make the HondaJet engines, which are each capable of 2,050 pound-feet of thrust uninstalled.
The jet itself measures 42.62 ft (12.99 m) long with a wingspan of 39.76 ft (12.12 m) and a height of 14.90 ft (4.54 m). Inside, it can be configured to seat up to five or six passengers with 17.80 x 5 ft (5.43 x 1.52 m) of interior space and 4.83 ft (1.47 m) of head room, making it taller and roomier than many competitors in the same class.
HondaJet is being manufactured in North Carolina, and Honda plans to target the lower end of the light jet market at first, offering the craft for sale to North America, South America and Europe through a dealer network, with pilot training already underway at its headquarters.