Honda soars above the streets with the launch of its first production HondaJet

LaFerrari who? Honda’s newest production vehicle can reach a top speed of 483 mph – more than twice the speed of nearly any automaker’s next-fastest car. OK, fine. The Bugatti Veyron can get a little more than halfway there, and so can the Koenigsegg One:1. Except, we’re not talking about cars here; we’re talking about the 2015 HondaJet, which took its first flight in production guise earlier this morning.

Sure, there are other brands that have dabbled in aeronautics. Many enthusiasts swear that BMW’s roundel logo is meant to symbolize a spinning propeller. Saab was “born from jets”. And Rolls-Royce continues to build commercial-grade jet engines for Boeing and Airbus. Heck, you could even loosely tie Tesla to the final frontier, if you consider its CEO’s founding of SpaceX. However, none of these brands engineers its own jets, leaving Honda to jump into the light aircraft fray with brands like Bombardier and Gulfstream.

The HondaJet is a small plane, but its pair of over-wing engines and lightweight materials make it one of the highest-flying, most fuel-efficient, most capacious jets in the industry. Let’s see a Bugatti jump to 43,000 feet or travel 1,357 miles (1,180 nautical miles) on a single tank, shall we?

While the HondaJet hasn’t yet been certified by the FAA, today’s inaugural flight of the production model marks one of the final steps before the aircraft can go on sale next year. The flight launched from Piedmont Triad International Airport, near the company’s headquarters in Greensboro, North Carolina. During its 84-minute flight, the HondaJet climbed to 15,500 feet and a speed of 348 knots (400 mph), all before landing smoothly back in Greensboro.

With a jet and the Acura NSX both headed our way next year, we’re starting to think Honda might have just upped the ante for 2015.