GREENSBORO, N.C. — Honda is flight testing its first-ever commercial aircraft in the North Carolina skies as it works toward Federal Aviation Administration certification.

Greensboro-based Honda Aircraft Co. said Tuesday it successfully completed its first flight test of its $4.5 million HondaJet. The parts were produced and the jet assembled at its factory near Piedmont Triad International Airport.

“This is a very important milestone for the HondaJet program,” said Michimasa Fujino, Honda Aircraft Company’s president and chief executive officer. “This aircraft was assembled and tested under strict FAA certification processes, and we are very pleased to have achieved this successful first flight. Our team has worked extremely hard to reach this critical step in the HondaJet program, and these results reflect Honda’s focus and determination to develop a class-leading aircraft.”

Another jet has already been built for testing purposes and a third will be completed early next year, the company said. Two more are to be built as part of the FAA certification process.

The first jets are expected to be delivered to customers in the third quarter of 2012, two years later than originally expected.

“We are very encouraged by our initial review of the flight data, which indicates the conforming HondaJet performed as expected,” Fujino said. “As we move forward, we will continue to focus all of our efforts and energy to deliver to our customers the most advanced light business jet yet created.”

Honda Aircraft spokesman Stephen Keeney declined to specify how many orders have been placed for the HondaJet, other than the number is well over 100.

Honda Aircraft employs about 500 people in Greensboro, growing to 600 when the plant ramps into production in 2012.

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