Honda's first light business jet has exceeded its projected top speed just three months on from its maiden flight. Michimasa Fujino first sketched the HondaJet with its distinctive over-the-wing engine-mount design in 1997. Almost 15 years later the journey towards production is almost complete with the latest milestone seeing the 5-seater aircraft hit 425 KTAS (that's "knots true airspeed") or 489 mph at 30,000 ft and a maximum Mach number of 0.72 above 30,000 ft – topping the 420 KTAS maximum cruising speed projected for the production model.

Due for delivery in 2012, the HondaJet is immediately recognizable for its over-the-wing engine-mount design. Honda says this configuration, combined with the aircraft's "Natural-Laminar Flow" airfoil and nose design reduces drag and ground-noise, improves fuel efficiency, keeps emissions low and out-performs clean-wing designs.

Power is provided by GE Honda HF 120 Turbofan engines producing 1880 lb of thrust each and inside there's executive seating for four plus a Honda-customized Garmin G3000 all-glass avionics system which includes three 14-inch landscape-format displays with dual touch-screen control.

"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."

A second FAA-conforming aircraft is already complete and systems installation is underway on a third test aircraft which will be used for mechanical systems flight testing. A total of five test aircraft will be built.

HondaJet is soon expected to move into its new production facility in Greensboro, North Carolina, before ramping-up for production next year.

HondaJet in brief

  • Maximum Cruise Speed @ FL300: 420KTAS
  • Service Ceiling: FL 430
  • Rate of Climb: 3990 ft/min
  • IFR Range: 1180 nm
  • Take-off Distance: 3120 ft
  • Landing Distance: 2500 ft
  • Engines: GE HONDA / HF120, output -1880 lb/each
  • Dimensions: Height 13.21 ft (4.03 m), Length 41.70 ft (12.71 m), Span 39.87 ft (12.15 m)
  • Cabin dimensions: Height 4.83 ft (1.47m), Width 5.00 ft (1.52 m), Length 17.80 ft (5.43 m)
  • Payload: 2 crew + 5 passengers, baggage 66 cubic feet