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One lucky customer got the first HondaJet for Christmas

The wait is finally over – for one fortunate customer, at least. After an extensive gestation period, the Honda Aircraft Company has delivered the first HondaJet to its eagerly awaiting new owner. And with it, the Japanese industrial giant has stepped into yet another territory of motorized transportation.

Though Honda first started experimenting with aircraft as far back as the 1980s, the development of the HondaJet as we now know it dates back to the late 1990s when designer Michimasa Fujino – now chief executive of the Honda Aircraft Company – first penned its form. The company has been working on getting it into the air and into customer hands ever since, with that process culminating now on no less fitting a day than just this past Christmas Eve.

Following the type certification received from the Federal Aviation Administration earlier this month, the handover of the first customer aircraft took place at the company's headquarters at Piedmont Triad International Airport in Greensboro, NC. That's where Honda will be producing all its aircraft, performing service and maintenance, and training its customer pilots, which has already begun on its on-site, full-motion flight simulator. A network of dealers handles sales across North America, South America, and Europe. The company did not disclose the identity of the first customer, but suffice it to say it was not Jenson Button – even though he is, once again, driving a Honda-powered F1 car.

The HondaJet HA-420 is classified as a very light business jet, measuring 42 feet and 7 inches long with a 39'9" wingspan. Power comes from a pair of turbofan engines produced by Honda and General Electric, each good for over 2,000 pounds of thrust and together are capable of propelling the aircraft to a cruising speed of 435 miles per hour or a top speed of 483 mph. That makes the HA-420 far and away the fastest vehicle Honda makes across numerous modes of transportation. In addition to cars, trucks, and jets, the company produces motorcycles, ATVs, marine engines, and lawnmowers, making it one of the most diverse manufacturers in the industry.

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