Honda Aircraft Company's fourth HondaJet small private jet lifted off and completed its first flight last week.
This HondaJet, dubbed the F3, reached as high as 11,500 feet, and managed a top speed of 313 knots true air speed (KTAS) while testing over the company's world headquarters in North Carolina. The F3, painted in bright yellow and white, was in the air for 74 minutes as pilots tested the F3's takeoff and climb, landing gear and flap operations, and aircraft handling. Pilot Stefan Johansson, co-pilot Howard Judd, and telemetry teams reported the F3 passed the series of system checks with flying colors, meaning the F3 is that much closer toward certification.
"The first flight of F3 shows the steady advancement on our course toward delivering to our customers an aircraft that offers not only superior performance, efficiency, and comfort, but also superior quality," said Michimasa Fujino, president and CEO of Honda Aircraft Company.
The company originally planned to launch the private jet in late 2011, but supplier issues prompted the company to delay the jet's launch. The HondaJet is powered by two GE Honda turbofan jet engines. The company claims its low-drag design will make the HondaJet more efficient and quieter than other similar planes. Thus far, three other FAA-approved HondaJets have been built and are in the company's flight test fleet. One has already reached its expected maximum operating altitude of 43,000 feet, and managed a top speed of 420 KTAS.
The F3 is the latest aircraft version of the Japanese company’s first ever airplane, which gets a unique color scheme. "HondaJet represents sportiness with high efficiency, so my choice of this special yellow for F3 expresses Honda's passion for, what we call, our ‘sports car in the sky'" Fujino said.