Honda's quest to apply its engineering nous to different modes of transport took another step forward today when the HondaJet completed its first test flight.
Honda Aircraft Company is a wholly owned subsidiary of the US Honda division and is based in North Carolina. The executives in charge vow they're following the guiding principles of Soichiro Honda, who founded the car maker, with a laser-like focus on new solutions to age-old problems.
Honda hopes to launch the HondaJet commercially in 2015 and shake up the private jet market with this cutting-edge plane.
What's new about the HondaJet?
Honda claims its new plane is the fastest, highest-flying, quietest, and most fuel-efficient jet in its class, thanks to an over-the-wing engine mount which makes the cabin quieter and the plane more fuel-efficient with lower drag.
The over-the-wing design also frees up cabin space with extra room for bodies and bags and Honda claims more .
A pair of GE Honda HF120 turbofan jet engines provide the power (there's no IMA hybrid system in the skies) and pilots enjoy a sophisticated all-glass virtual instrumentation portrayed on three 14in landscape touch screens.
The HondaJet is being certified as a single-pilot aircraft.
HondaJet: the test flight
The first HondaJet took off from Piedmont Triad International Airport and was airborne for 84 minutes, reaching 15,500 feet and 348 knots.
Honda is pushing ahead with its plane plans and has 10 aircraft on the final assembly line. Once Federal Aviation Administration type approval is granted, the project will be launched in North America and Europe.
With cars, motorbikes, lawnmowers, marine engines - and robots - all wearing the Honda badge, we're left wondering what next for Japan's most leftfield car maker…