Will You Meet the Nicest Pilots in a HondaJet?

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After 20 years of research, engineering and test flights, Honda yesterday announced it had submitted its FAA type certificate application for its innovative HondaJet. In addition, the Japanese manufacturer said it had formed a new subsidiary -- the Honda Aircraft Company -- to produce and sell the airplane, set its initial price at $3.65 million, finalized specifications and scheduled 2010 as the date by which it intends to achieve both type and production certification. (Nothing like getting it all out of the way at once...) The announcements came during a well-attended press event at the HondaJet exhibit on the floor of this year's NBAA annual meeting and convention, which is only the aircraft's third public display.

Among the specifications Honda announced yesterday is a cruise speed of 420 knots, IFR range of 1,180 nm and a service ceiling of FL430. Twin GE-Honda HF120 turbofan engines, each rated at 1,880 pounds takeoff thrust will power the new offering, which will be available in two interior configurations of five and six passengers each. According to the company, the HondaJet prototype has logged more than 260 hours of airborne testing since flight testing first began in December 2003. Honda Aircraft Company said it projects a production volume of 70 jets per year when manufacturing starts in 2010. In July, Honda forged an alliance with Piper to market and support the HondaJet.