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After nearly 30 years HondaJet makes first flight

Staff writer |
Honda Motor's first jet aircraft made its maiden flight in Japan, nearly three decades after the company started a project to produce a plane.

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The HondaJet model, manufactured in the United States, arrived at Tokyo's Haneda Airport on April 23. The 13-meter-long aircraft can carry seven passengers and is priced at $4.5 million (about 540 million yen). The first commercial unit will be delivered within months.

The HondaJet is the first aircraft manufactured by a Japanese carmaker. Honda started developing a small jet in 1986 to realize the long-cherished dream of company founder Soichiro Honda. The aircraft's lightweight body and engine, which increase fuel-efficiency, were built from scratch.

Conventional jets have engines below the wings. But the HondaJet's engines are above the wings, allowing for more room for the flight cabin. A prototype HondaJet made a test flight in 2003 and the first commercial model completed its maiden flight in June 2014 in the United States.

Demonstration flights and exhibitions of the HondaJet will be held at Sendai Airport on April 25, Kobe Airport on April 26, Konan Airport in Okayama on May 2 and 3, and Narita International Airport on May 4.

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