The little HondaJet making its debut at ABACE flew here flawlessly from North Carolina over a leisurely few days, covering 6,800 nm in a total of 22.8 hours, much of it spent cruising well above the weather at 38,000-40,000 ft.

Chief Test Pilot Warren Gould and Tim Frazier, Manager for Flight Operations and Demonstrations, had such confidence in the aircraft that they carried more fuel instead of technicians, and just a minimum of spare parts plus a custom-made towbar.

They flew first to Edmonton, Canada, then White Horse in Canada’s Yukon, and to Nome in Alaska, where they were delayed a day by weather. “Our next destination was Anadyr in Russia,” they explained, but snow was forecast en route “and there are no alternate airports within 500 miles. We decided to go when the weather allowed.”

From Anadyr they flew across the Bering Sea and down the east coast of Russia to Petropavlovsk, and then to Sapporo in Japan and Nagoya. In Japan the HondaJet was prepped and cleaned up for the show, flying a little over 3 hours against a 100 mph headwind to arrive 840 nm later in Shanghai with 700 lb of fuel in reserve, enough for another one hour of flying.

It was the first time in China for the $4.5 million, six-seat HondaJet. The pilots said they were delighted that the cockpit’s multifunction display easily registered altitude in meters instead of feet, and allowed the altimeter be set effortlessly in hectapascals instead of inches of pressure, as in the West.

They said they had been cautioned that Chinese air traffic control is typically a little wary of mixing aircraft under 7,500 kg with airline traffic, as light aircraft can be slower and disrupt the flow. “But they were asking us to slow down. So the HondaJet fits in nicely,” they said. The HondaJet’s maximum ramp weight is 4,844 kg.

Trip support was handled by Universal Weather and Aviation.