Honda Flies Conforming HondaJets, Thanks EAA

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The president and CEO of Honda Aircraft Company (HAC) stood before two FAA conforming HondaJets displayed for the first time at AirVenture, Monday morning, and thanked EAA for its support, before the jets flew in formation for the airshow crowd later in the afternoon. HAC President Michimasa Fujino, who years ago sketched the jet on the back of a calendar and may be the single most important driving force behind the project, told a crowd gathered at AirVenture's Phillips 66 Plaza that he was inspired by the support of the AirVenture community. "I want to thank you, today, from the bottom of my heart," he said, "I am very honored to share this moment with you."

Fujino identified one of the two jets behind him (N420NC, in blue trim) as the fifth conforming prototype that was a "final configuration" aircraft involved in "the final leg of certification flight testing." The other jet (N420HM, in red trim) is used for mechanical systems flight testing and can transmit to engineers on the ground 4,000 channels of data, in real time. HAC hopes to deliver its first customer jet in 2014 and is currently pricing the jets near $4.3 million. The company has not announced firm numbers but says its order books are full for at least two years. The company said in June that it expects sales to top 80 jets annually within a few years and that Honda's aviation business is expected to become profitable by 2020. Speaking for EAA, Chairman Jack Pelton recognized the HondaJet as a source of inspiration for future generations of aviation pioneers and enthusiasts. Pelton said Fujino was one of the true motivational innovators in aviation engineering today and that EAA was honored to play a role in the company's public development.