EAA AirVenture

HondaJet World Flight to Take Off from AirVenture

 - July 24, 2017, 9:37 AM
(At front: left to right) HondaJet SouthEast sales manager Bob Van Riper, pilot Julian MacQueen, wife Kim MacQueen, Honda Aircraft v-p Doug Danuser, Honda Aircraft director of sales for Latin America Ryan Ramos and the Honda Aircraft team celebrate delivery day for the aircraft used during the world flight at HondaJet’s Greensboro factory. (Photo: Honda Aircraft Company)

Julian MacQueen, pilot and founder and CEO of Innisfree Hotels, and his wife, Kim, will be the first people to circumnavigate the globe in a HondaJet. The trip, dubbed “Around the World in 80 Stays,” features MacQueen as pilot-in-command with Travis Holland of Holland Aero handling logistics and Kim focusing on public outreach. MacQueen will depart from AirVenture at the end of the week and head toward Pensacola, Florida, to pick up his wife. Including a kickoff ceremony at Honda’s Greensboro factory, the MacQueens and Holland will stop at approximately 80 locations around the world and end the tour in October at the NBAA Convention in Las Vegas.

Knowing that many people wish to go on this trip with the MacQueens, HondaJet is bringing the experience to AirVenture. The aircraft will be on display at Booth 407-416. There will also be a green screen photo booth for atteendees to take a picture with the HondaJet in front of various iconic locations around the world.

“This is just one of those moments where I thought, ‘When will I ever get the opportunity to be the first to fly an airplane as cool as the HondaJet, single-pilot, around the world?’” MacQueen told AIN. “This trip combines a bunch of passions of mine: flying, hotels, design, culture. I’m at the age where if I don’t do it now, I may not be able to do it in the future. I thought I’d grab it while I could.”

Travel has always been built into the MacQueens’ marriage. As a young boy, Julian was inspired by his father’s travel journal and got his pilot’s license at the age of 16. While Kim is not a pilot, she began traveling at a young age, as she backpacked through Europe at 19, finding herself in Norway, Sweden and even Israel. Together, the couple has owned multiple aircraft including two Bonanzas, a 1943 Grumman Widgeon, a Cessna Citation II and more.

It was with the 2015 purchase of a Phenom 100 that MacQueen and Holland completed a trip in which they visited 14 countries in four days. Holland, an aircraft broker who plans logistics for private aircraft operators, initiated the trip that saw the two leaving from Johannesburg to visit places like Malawi, Nairobi, Djibouti, Egypt, Montenegro, Scotland, Iceland, Greenland, Nova Scotia, Boston and more.

The HondaJet trip will set a record, since the aircraft has never flown around the world like this before. MacQueen told AIN that he plans to set speed records on certain legs of the trip, but those locations have not been decided yet. The aircraft is expected to use 60,000 pounds of fuel and fly 29,000 nm, which is approximately 60 flying hours. Along the trip route, MacQueen will work with Honda Aircraft to display the HondaJet to potential prospects and aviation enthusiasts.

“The HonadaJet’s advantages include flying in the flight levels; It can go to 43,000 [feet],” MacQueen told AIN. “I’ve been limited with that in other turbine airplanes. The passenger area is also a lot more comfortable, and is has a much larger bathroom. I’ve had the aircraft for about a month, and I’m trying to put at least 50 hours on it before this trip so we can knock out any bugs that happen to be there. What I’m finding is that at cruise altitude, we’re burning about 600 to 700 pounds [of fuel] an hour going over 400 knots.”

At the same time, the MacQueens are taking this trip as an impromptu course in hotel culture around the world. One of the first trips the couple took together was a Butterfield & Robinson bicycle trip in France’s Upper Loire. It was then that they realized they shared an interest in exploring culture, something that they tie into the structure of their business. The MacQueens will study hotel business from around the world to bring back different techniques to diversify Innisfree Hotels.

Overall, MacQueen will stop at approximately 80 locations around the world including Colombia, Ireland, Portugal, Turkey, Vietnam, New Delhi, Thailand, Australia, Japan, and Russia.