Honda Jet's "Secret" Flight

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Try as you might, it's hard to keep the first flight of a new airplane secret, but give Honda full marks for trying. The automotive giant's foray into the bizjet market flew for about an hour from its not-so-secret development facility at Aero Atlantic's FBO at Greensboro-Peidmont Triad International Airport (GSO) last Wednesday. And although the flight has been widely reported, Honda and the various entities involved have clearly been sworn to secrecy about the milestone. "Tell them I referred you to Honda," said a slightly bemused Don Godwin, CEO of Atlantic Aero. Honda's official spokesman Jeffrey Smith didn't return a phone message left by AVweb. Word (anonymously, of course) is that Wednesday's hop was a shakedown in advance of the official rollout that could happen later this week or next. The jet has an odd engine configuration, with the Honda-developed mills resting atop wing-mounted pylons. This makes way for a roomier cabin. Earlier, Honda announced the eight-passenger jet would gross out at 9,200 pounds, cruise at 420 knots up to 44,000 feet and have an IFR range of 1,100 nm.