|Sky is the limit for Flying Honda
with new small jet
TOKYO, Dec 5 (AFP) - Japanese carmaker Honda, which has conquered terra firma with everything from its ubiquitous Cub motorcycle to its Formula One engines, is now looking to the sky with a small business jet it has developed.
It plans to test the aircraft this month, possibly on December 17, the 100th anniversary of the first ever manned, powered flight by the Wright Brothers from Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, a Honda official said Friday.
"Our research and development team has a dream of testing it on that date in the United States. But there is nothing official about that," said the official at the Honda Motor Co. public relations office.
"Anyway, we have been aiming to conduct a full-fledged test by the end of the year," she said, without saying where the flight would take place.
The official said the company had no plans to sell the jet commercially. She did not go into details about the aircraft.
The major newspaper Yomiuri Shimbun reported Friday that the business plane, called the Honda Jet, is 12.5 meters (41 feet seven inches) long and accommodates six to eight passengers.
It is equipped with two Honda-developed engines on top of its main wings, the report said.
With a full tank, the plane can fly some 2,000 kilometers (1,250 miles) and has a top speed at 775 kilometers (484 miles) per hour, it added.
It has been more than four decades since Hondas founder, the late Soichiro Honda, announced in 1962 that the company would develop aircraft, the daily noted.
Honda is the first Japanese company to develop aircraft since 1959 when the Nippon Aicraft Manufacturing Co. built the twin-propeller YS-11, the report said.
Honda has been engaged in research and development in general aviation since 1986 and tested its six-passenger prototype jet, the MH02, for a total of 170 hours in flight from 1993 to 1996.
The MH02 carried two turbofan engines made by Canadas Pratt and Whitney.
In 1997, Honda also unveiled two turbofan engines the HFX-01 built for research purposes and the HFX20, a prototype still at a development stage.
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