Honda has the U.S. regulatory approval it needs to launch full production of the auto-making giant’s first aircraft.

Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Elizabeth Cory said Wednesday that Honda Aircraft Co. received the certification on Tuesday.

HondaJet’s model HA-420 business jet is expected to be the first in a line of aircraft made at a manufacturing hub and headquarters in Greensboro The jet offers an “Over-The-Wing Engine Mount configuration,” and boasts a top speed of 483 mph.

The company said it “is now ramping up production i… with 25 aircraft on the final assembly line.”

Some 1,700 people are working for Honda Aircraft.

Noted the company: “Honda Aircraft Company validated the HondaJet’s performance, safety, function and reliability through rigorous ground and flight tests with the FAA. Total flight hours exceeded 3,000, with testing conducted at more than 70 locations across the United States.”

The jet can seat up to seven and has a list price of about $4.5 million. Honda says it has received more than 100 orders, primarily from customers in North America and Europe. Originally, the company had said deliveries would begin by 2010. It hasn’t said what its new delivery target is.

The milestone comes three decades after Honda’s founder set a goal of entering the aviation market.

What executives had to say:

  • “Achieving FAA type certification for the HondaJet is a monumental milestone for Honda,” said President and CEO Michimasa Fujino. “We established Honda Aircraft as a new aerospace company and introduced our first product — an advanced light jet with technologies developed from serious research activities. We designed, tested, and have now certified this clean-sheet design aircraft – an unprecedented challenge for Honda.”
  • “This day was achieved through the collaborative efforts of the FAA and Honda Aircraft Company,” said Melvin Taylor, manager of the FAA’s Atlanta Aircraft Certification Office. “Collaboration is not easy, it often is a difficult subject. But when it is done successfully like this program, the rewards are gratifying to us all.”
  • “This is an exciting day for North Carolina and our state’s aerospace industry,” said North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory. “As far back as the Wright Brothers’ first flight at Kitty Hawk, our role in aviation has always been significant. Now, when we look up in the sky, we will see jets made right here in North Carolina. Congratulations to HondaAircraft Company on this enormous achievement.”