Thank you to everyone who came to the Innisfree Jet Center to see us off on Sunday! It was a celebration of the trip and a warm good-bye from friends and family! And thank you to all of you who sent good wishes through phone calls, texts, emails, etc. We could not have had a better "bon voyage"! We look forward to keeping in touch throughout the trip by sharing photos and stories along the way.
The flight to Greensboro was easy and beautiful, and after all the farewells seemed amazingly short! It took us one hour and 29 minutes and resulted in a sanctioned speed record for the distance between Pensacola and Greensboro. (We don't know how long it'll hold as it's the first attempt!).
We were whisked from the airport in an English black taxicab sent by friends Nancy and Dennis Quaintance who also showed us hospitality at their beautiful Proximity Hotel. We had just enough time to freshen up before dinner with Doug Danuser and Bryce of HondaJet, Travis Holland of Shepherd Aero (our stalwart logistics expert) and Mr. Fujino and his lovely daughter. Mr. Fujino is the inventor and designer of the HondaJet. It was an immense honor to not only meet him but to have relaxed time over dinner together. He is truly a visionary of aviation design and a delightful host. After literally becoming an expert in several fields, he was able to sweep aside all the reasons having engines on the wings wouldn't work, see all the possibilities freshly, and create the design that makes the HondaJet so sleek and stable.
This morning we had breakfast with Dennis and Nancy and indulged not only in inspiring conversation, but also good food (see the delicious avocado/bacon toast below!(Good grief! The tastings have already begun!
Upon arriving back to HondaJet hangar this morning, we had an opportunity to share the trip with a news crew and social media outlets. We were surprised and once again delighted that Mr. Fujino was able to join us to talk about the significance of the trip, and to hear how pleased he was to see the HondaJet fly around the world!
As well as designing revolutionary aircraft with-on-the wing engines, Mr. Fujino has designed the exquisite Astron watch, a HondaJet solar GPS limited edition. He graciously presented one to Julian, our pilot in command, as a going away gift.
Every experience we've had at HondaJet, from visiting the factory floor, the delivery of the plane, and Julian's training, has been remarkable in its obviously thoughtful care and attention to detail. Our departure today was no different. Many HondaJet staff, white-coated and in a double line, applauded our way to the plane door and stayed to see us take off on this adventure. Our last good bye was with Mr. Fujino. Thank you everyone at HondaJet for yet another perfect send off.
Now the trip is starting to feel real.
Next stop, Halifax, Nova Scotia.