Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Pensacola's Julian MacQueen set for round-the-world flight in a HondaJet

Pensacola hotelier Julian MacQueen and his wife Kim

Retired NASA astronaut Winston Scott has been on two Space Shuttle missions and has orbited the Earth 394 times. 

But he's never gone around the globe like his friend, Pensacola pilot Julian MacQueen, who will soon set off on the first around-the-world flight of the recently released HondaJet, which was introduced in 2016 after years of production.

"I think it's absolutely fantastic,'' said Scott, a retired Navy captain, after a brief tour of the HondaJet, which will set off from Pensacola on Aug. 4 and return sometime in October. "I've done some orbits, but I didn't have the detail that he's going to have on his flight." 

MacQueen, founder and president of Innisfree Hotels, will make the flight with his wife, Kim MacQueen, and Travis Holland of Holland Aero, who will be handling logistics for the flight. There have only been 57 HondaJets produced thus far, and MacQueen and Innisfree own No. 55, which he purchased six weeks ago. 

The flight is billed as "Around the World in 80 Stays" because the purpose of the trip is for the MacQueens to explore hotel culture and service around the world.

"We want look at the difference in service cultures, the different corporate cultures, look at the design and the food display and bring all that back to Innisfree and Pensacola," he said.

Kim MacQueen will blog during the trip, posting updates on Facebook at "Around the World in 80 Stays." 

MacQueen, 67, has been a pilot since he was 16.

"There's something about the freedom of flying,'' he said. "Just get up and you can go anywhere."

The trip will take the couple to Iceland, Ireland, Portugal, Spain, Italy, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Nepal, Bhutan, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Indonesia, Australia, Japan, Russia, Colombia and more. MacQueen has visited Iceland and Ireland before, but none of the other countries. 

"I'm really looking forward to Bhutan,'' he said. "They don't measure success by the GDP. They have a happiness quotient. That's how they measure success — happiness." 

He's also eager to visit Vietnam, where many from his generation served during the Vietnam War.

The flight is sponsored by HondaJet and Jetex. 

MacQueen said he expects to fly at about 400 knots (about 460 miles per hour) and said the HondaJet can fly as high as 43,000 feet. 

"It's shockingly quiet,'' he said of the jet, which he keeps at the Innisfree Jet Center in Pensacola. "I have to look at the gauges to see if the engine is on or not." 

Story, video and photo gallery:

Instagram and Twitter:  @80days80stays 

HondaJet HA-420

HJ Equipment LLC

This week, Pensacola hotelier Julian MacQueen and his wife Kim will climb into their HondaJet and embark on a three-month, around-the-world trip that will take them to destinations on six continents.

MacQueen is the founder and CEO of Innisfree Hotels, which owns and/or manages 23 hotels in Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Michigan, and Vermont. By circumnavigating the globe, he and his wife hope to investigate the role hotels play in community building and to discover what’s possible if they bring more design, culture — and even faith — from around the world back home.

“The world is a community, and you are welcome no matter where you are from,” MacQueen said. “We are all global citizens, and this trip will help connect Innisfree teammates and guests with the world.”

The pair will fly themselves from one destination to the next in their HondaJet, billed as the world’s most advanced light jet. Manufactured by Honda Aircraft Company in Greensboro, North Carolina, the HA-420 HondaJet has a maximum cruise speed of 422 knots (486 mph) and a maximum altitude of 43,000 feet, placing it highest in its class for both speed and altitude, as well as being the most fuel-efficient light jet in its class.

A lifelong aviation enthusiast who earned his pilot’s license at age 15, Julian MacQueen was just the 55th owner of a HondaJet worldwide after purchasing the plane earlier this year. The company’s first commercial aircraft, the HondaJet has a retail price of $4.5 million.

They’re calling the adventure “Around the World in 80 Stays”  — a nod to Jules Verne’s classic 1873 adventure novel — and have invited people to follow along via the website, on Facebook at, or on Instagram and Twitter using the handle @80days80stays.

The trip will take the pair to more than two dozen countries: Colombia, Canada, Greenland, Iceland, Ireland, Portugal, Spain, Morocco, France, Italy, Turkey, Israel, Dubai, India, Nepal, Bhutan, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Australia, Taiwan, and Japan.

Both HondaJet and Shepherd Aero, which provides “international trip support for private jet operators and aviation adventurers,” have signed on as sponsors for the trip, which will mark the first around-the-world flight of a HondaJet.

“I am very excited that our esteemed customers decided to use the HondaJet for their world tour,” said Honda Aircraft President & CEO Michimasa Fujino. “I hope many people around the world get to see HondaJet in person and see the high performance, quality and reliability of the aircraft.”

The MacQueens are taking off this week and plan to complete the trip by early-to-mid October.

Original article can be found here: