A Honda business jet in an undated file photo.
Honda, the Japanese firm best known for making cars, motorcycles and lawn mowers, is branching out into aviation.
The company announced Dec. 23 that it has begun deliveries of its first airplane product, the HondaJet, to customers. Honda Aircraft is building the business jet in Greensboro, N.C., and selling it in North America, South America and Europe.
Honda said it incorporated several design features, including engines mounted over the wings and a fuselage made of lightweight composites instead of traditional aluminum, to increase the aircraft’s speed, fuel efficiency and cabin space and reduce noise. The plane can seat six or seven people, including crew members.
The delivery news came two weeks after Honda announced Dec. 9 that the HondaJet, which underwent more than 3,000 hours of flight testing, had received its airworthiness certification from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The company also said at the time that it was ramping up production in Greensboro, with 25 aircraft on the final assembly line. “I hope we soon will begin to see many HondaJets at airports around the world,” said Michimasa Fujino, Honda Aircraft’s president and chief executive officer.