It won't have the same name appeal as 'Gulfstream' or 'Learjet', but Honda's first foray into the world of private air travel is one it's taking very seriously. On March 11, one of its prototype FAA-conforming HondaJets hit 489 mph at an altitude of 30,000 ft., surpassing the plane's original performance goals.

Honda attributes the jet's impressive speed to its unique shape, and above-wing engine placement. And though there's still plenty of testing to do before it can legally go on sale, things are looking good for the brand's skyward expansion. Check the press release for more details.


FAA-Conforming HondaJet Achieves Maximum Speed

Honda Aircraft Company, Inc., today announced that the first FAA-conforming HondaJet light business jet has achieved a maximum speed of 425 KTAS (489 mph) and Mach 0.72. This achievement surpasses the company's performance commitment of 420 KTAS for the production HondaJet.

The FAA-conforming HondaJet's maximum speed of 425 KTAS was recorded at 30,000 ft. on March 11, 2011. This result comes less than three months after the aircraft successfully completed its maiden flight on December 20, 2010.

"We are extremely pleased with the strong performance of the FAA-conforming HondaJet early in the flight test program," said Michimasa Fujino, Honda Aircraft Company President & CEO. "Our flight tests indicate the aircraft is handling and performing as expected, with excellent control harmony and stability. The HondaJet's unique over-the-wing engine mount configuration and natural laminar-flow leading edge and fuselage nose designs significantly reduce drag and greatly contribute to such outstanding performance. In addition, the HondaJet's HF120 engines are exhibiting carefree handling of thrust and are supporting top-level performance and efficiency."

Honda will continue a rigorous series of in-flight mechanical, systems and handling tests on the FAA-conforming aircraft. Flight testing of the HondaJet is taking place at Honda Aircraft Company's world headquarters facility in Greensboro, North Carolina.

While flight testing continues, construction of the HondaJet production facility on the company's Greensboro campus nears completion. Honda soon will take occupancy of the 263,400 ft2 production facility and begin the process of moving equipment and personnel into the facility and undertaking pre-production preparations and training necessary to support HondaJet production ramp-up beginning in 2012.

About HondaJet

Honda Aircraft Company, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Honda Motor Company, Ltd., has amassed orders for well over 100 HondaJet advanced light business jets. Scheduled for first delivery in the third quarter of 2012, the $4.5 million HondaJet is Honda's first-ever commercial aircraft and lives up to the company's reputation for dynamic performance together with superior efficiency.

The HondaJet incorporates many innovative technological advances in aviation design, including a unique over-the-wing engine-mount configuration that dramatically improves aircraft performance and fuel efficiency by significantly reducing aerodynamic drag in flight. This innovative approach to airframe design also lowers ground-detected noise when overhead and allows for a more spacious cabin and greater cargo capacity. The HondaJet is powered by two highly fuel-efficient GE Honda HF120 turbofan jet engines.

[via Honda]