By Andy Warfield
A co-founder of a Greensboro-based aircraft fractional ownership company and one of its share owners last week set a new flight record in the very light business jet category.
Jet It CEO Glenn Gonzales shared the cockpit of one of its HondaJet Elites with Jon Halpern of New York City as they flew from Denver, Colorado, to Bar Harbor, Maine — a distance of 1,662 nautical miles — in three hours and 59 minutes. That is a record for distance traveled in that amount of time by a jet in the very light business category.
Halpern is a member of the company’s “Red Jet Squadron,” which is comprised of HondaJet fractional owners who have been certified to pilot the planes. Through the program, owner/pilots have the opportunity to fly with Jet It captains in either the left or right seat, depending on experience and comfort level.
“Jet It is about creating one-of-a-kind memories and experiences,” Gonzales said. “As a Red Jet Squadron member, becoming a world record holder is just another value-add that only Jet It provides.“
Gonzales is no stranger to breaking barriers, holding four other world records in aviation, two of them in the HondaJet. He flew F-15 fighter jets in the U.S. Air Force, retiring as a Lt. Colonel. The company now employs 50 including staff and captains, most of them based across the country at the aircrafts’ locations.Gonzales and partner Vishal Hiremath, both former sales executives at Greensboro-based Honda Aircraft Co. (NYSE: HMC), took delivery of the company’s first HondaJet in 2018. As Covid-19 impacted air travel this year, the company has capitalized on the growing demand for private aviation options. The partners expect the fleet to grow to 10 North America-based aircraft by the end of 2020.
This year, they also purchased their first HondaJet Elite for JetClub, a membership-based operation that will serve Europe and Southeast Asia. Gonzales told Triad Business Journal the company expects to operate in excess of 20 HondaJets in North America by the end of 2021.
Jet It owners are allotted a number of utilization days based on their ownership share. Flight costs are $1,600 per hour. Qualified owners have the option to travel as a pilot or a passenger. Owners who choose to pursue their HondaJet type rating may join the exclusive Red Jet Squadron.