Honda Aircraft’s initial production HA-420 HondaJet took to the skies for the first time on 27 June, marking another milestone toward certification and service entry of the light business jet in 2015.

The seven-seat aircraft lifted off from Piedmont Triad airport at 10:18 local time. During the 84min flight, the jet climbed to 15,500ft and reached a top speed of 348kt (644km/h).

The crew completed several checks during the flight, including low- and high-speed handling characteristics, avionics and system functionality – including landing gear, flaps and speed brake operations.

The aircraft is finished in the new signature HondaJet paint scheme – deep green pearl with a gold stripe. “The new colour introduction is in addition to four exterior colour options available to customers, which also include silver, red, yellow and blue,” Honda Aircraft says.

First flight of the production aircraft marks the third major landmark for the programme in seven months.

The HondaJet’s 2,100lb-thrust (9.3kN) HF120 engine – developed by GE Honda Aero Engines – received US Federal Aviation Administration certification in December.

This was preceded by US inspection authorisation, which established a performance baseline to receive airworthiness certification.

Production of the Garmin G3000-equipped HondaJet is already under way at the company’s Greenboro, North Carolina headquarters.

“This steady build-up supports the company’s objective to have aircraft ready for delivery immediately after [US] type certification is achieved,” says Honda Aircraft.