Mitsubishi SpaceJet JA26MJ embarks on maiden flight

Flight Test Vehicle 10 (FTV10), the first Mitsubishi SpaceJet M90 in final, certifiable baseline configuration, completed its maiden flight in Japan. 

The Mitsubishi SpaceJet M90 Flight Test Vehicle 10 took off from, and later landed in, the Prefectural Nagoya Airport (NKM) on March 18, 2020. During approximately two hours of flight, basic aircraft performance tests were conducted in normal operating conditions over the Pacific Ocean.

“Today’s flight test was conducted smoothly and according to plan. The aircraft delivered on expectations and handled just as I anticipated,” said Hiroyoshi Takase, a captain aboard FTV10’s maiden flight, as cited in the company’s statement.

“Today’s announcement is especially encouraging, as it marks the start of certification flight testing for the first SpaceJet M90 in final, certifiable configuration,” said Alex Bellamy, Mitsubishi Aircraft’s Chief Development Officer.

  • Aircraft: JA26MJ (FTV10)
  • Takeoff time: 14:53 JST
  • Landing Time: 16:40 JST
  • Pilots: Hiroyoshi Takase (total flight time: approx. 7,700h) and Akira Udagawa (total flight time: approx. 11,600h)

Mitsubishi SpaceJet M90 certification testing

Now, following the first flight, Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation is prepared to enter the final phase of certification flight testing for the SpaceJet M90, the company has announced. Further flight tests will be conducted in Nagoya in the coming weeks. 

Afterwards, FTV10 will be flown to Moses Lake Flight Test Center to join the remainder of the Mitsubishi SpaceJet M90 test fleet for the final phase of the type certification flight test.

On February 5, 2020, the delivery of the Mitsubishi SpaceJet was delayed for the sixth time, reportedly due to a redesign of the electrical system, which will require further certifications. Mitsubishi Heavy initially envisioned for its jet to enter the market of regional aircraft in 2013. It should now enter service in late 2021 or 2022.

Nevertheless, the past year was a breakthrough for Mitsubishi and its regional jet program. In 2019, the company renamed its “Regional Jet” to “SpaceJet”, announced the SpaceJet M100 (a scope clause compliant aircraft tailored to the United States regional jet market), opened headquarters in the United States (in one of the biggest potential markets for its aircraft) and acquired the Canadian Regional Jet program from Bombardier.

More importantly, it finally began flight-testing the SpaceJet M90 in March 2019. The flight-testing of the Pratt & Whitney GTF PW1200G, which is going to be an exclusive power plant for the Mitsubishi SpaceJet, began in February 2020. The testing took place at Mitsubishi Aircraft Flight Test Center in Moses Lake. The engines were installed on Flight Test Aircraft 1.

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