Two years ago, I came to NBAA in Las Vegas ... to announce Honda's entry into the field of aviation through the formation of GE-Honda Aero. Today, we are pleased to take another significant step ... entering a new dimension of mobility ... by starting sales of HondaJet ... a new advanced light jet of our own design.
Aviation has long been a dream for Honda. I recall as a very young engineer in 1969, I was working overtime late at night ... when I heard a strange, high pitched engine sound. Then, I saw an odd looking car moving slowly through the research lab. It was powered by a turbine engine under study by a team of Honda engineers. From the standpoint of technology ... this research project had no relation to the HondaJet we introduce today. But ... in a spiritual sense ... I guess you could say it was the first HondaJet.
The point is ... even as Honda grew from a motorcycle maker into an automaker ... and a leading producer of power equipment products ... our vision was as a mobility company, and we always kept one eye on the sky. It has been more or less 40 years of continuous challenges.
This personal passion for aviation started with the founder of Honda Motor Company ... Soichiro Honda. And it continued with every former CEO of our company. They all helped keep the dream alive. In fact, I would say their passion was much stronger than my own. For me, launching sales of HondaJet is not such an emotional decision.
A passion for aviation propelled HondaJet into the air, but a strong business case is what is taking it to the customer. And I am very confident in the success of this project. In every one of our business activities ... our goal is to create new value for the customer. And HondaJet meets this challenging objective. Simply and frankly, we would not have taken this step to commercialize HondaJet unless it created new value for aviation customers.
We began focused research in the field of aviation with two different research projects -- 20 years ago. One project studied turbine jet engines. The other focused on the aircraft. Today, powered by the HF 120 engine of GE-Honda Aero ... HondaJet represents the powerful synergy of those efforts.
Throughout our corporate history, it has been a hallmark of Honda to develop original technology for the benefit of our customers and society. I see the development of HondaJet as yet another positive demonstration that the challenging spirit of Honda still exists in our engineers today.
At the same time, while we believe in the importance of original technology, we have always involved strategic partners where it provides value for the customer. So, we are pleased to have both GE-Honda Aero and Piper Aircraft as strategic partners in this venture. Together we will form a strong team ... that creates new value in the field of aviation.
I want to thank all of you in the aviation community for accepting Honda so warmly into the field of aviation. We are excited to join this industry. And we look forward to making a valued contribution.
Finally, one month from today marks the 100 year anniversary of the birth of Mr. Honda. Today's launch of HondaJet is a great way to celebrate his spirit of challenge and innovation.