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Honda takes to the skies

Maiden flight of HondaJet shows the sky really is the limit for this particular manufacturer.

Honda really does get around a bit. It makes motorbikes that go very fast, cars that drive themselves and robots that can walk and talk. You would think that would be enough for the Japanese manufacturer, but no — its next venture is to head into the world of aircraft production.

The HondaJet took off on its maiden voyage at 10:18am Eastern Daylight Time from the company’s headquarters in Greensboro, North Carolina in the US. It achieved an altitude of 15,500 feet and speed of 348 Knots True Air Speed (KTAS).

1,000 employees from the Honda Aircraft team witnessed the HondaJet land safely after the 84-minute flight.

A single pilot is able to fly the HondaJet, which has a cruising speed of 420 KTAS at 30,000 feet. That’s nearly 500mph, landlubbers.

A great deal of expertise has gone into making Honda’s first aircraft a bit special, including 20 years to research and develop the recognisable ‘over-the-wing’ engine mount.

The maximum of four passengers are treated to a cabin that can be controlled by a tablet. You are only ever a few touchscreen presses away from turning the lights on and off, changing the cabin temperature or seeing how far away the destination is.

There are cup holders, privacy doors, tables to work at and, of course, a toilet for when the champagne makes its way out of your system. In the cabin is a Garmin G3000 next-generation all-glass avionics system designed to make life easy for the captain.

Ten HondaJet aircraft are now on the final assembly line. Entry into service is planned for 2015, so it won’t be long before you can ditch the Ford Focus and fly to work. Expect to pay millions, mind you.

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