It wasn’t the worst weather for a test flight I’d ever seen, but by late afternoon, the North Carolina air was bumpy, and I’d already had a long day, which started at seven with a training session in the HondaJet sim. The bumps, I soon realized, were a great test. Anybody can fly an airplane in smooth air, I thought to myself as I bounced in on final for Greensboro’s Runway 23, grinding through the mechanical turbulence created by hills that in any other circumstances I would have thought were simply very pretty. Here as it was, though, with plus and minus 10 or 15 knots of wind shear, and me trying to get the feel of the thrust levers on the HondaJet, I was working pretty hard.
It was worth it, a fact given away by the stupid grin I was warily wearing on my face. You see, I’d been dreaming about flying this airplane for more than 10 years. The dreams became really vivid once I saw the cool-looking little jet arrive at Oshkosh in 2005. By 2012, I couldn’t take it any longer. I was trying not to be too much of a pest in my pleading with my friends at Honda to please, oh, please, let me fly it. I’d drop anything to get to Greensboro to make it happen, I said. In late March, I finally got the call. I had 48 hours to get there. As promised, I made it happen.