Mitsubishi Aircraft announced on Wednesday that it had completed its first flight with the SpaceJet M90 in Japan. Fifth test aircraft of the model remained in the air for about 1 hour and 45 minutes before returning to the Komaki airport in Nagoya province.
Enhanced variant of the MRJ90, the new test plane is considered by the manufacturer to be the final, certifiable baseline configuration of the SpaceJet M90. Mitsubishi desperately seeks to certify the jet by the end of 2021 to finally deliver the first planes after several delays.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the inaugural flight of the M90 was not covered by the press. Only Mitsubishi employees were present and in order to avoid crowds.
“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.
Mitsubishi’s schedule other test flights in Japan before the prototype goes to the Moses Lake test center in the USA, where other test aircraft are located.
Change of route
The M90 is an enhanced version of the MRJ90, with up to 88 seats and which flew for the first time in June 2015. Due to repeated schedule delays, the Japanese manufacturer decided to rethink the entire program and in June 2019 announced the change of the series name for SpaceJet.
In addition to changing 900 items on the M90, Mitsubishi canceled plans for the MRJ70, replacing it with the M100, a variant designed to meet the scope clause of US airlines. This means taking off with a maximum weight of 86,000 lbs and up to 76 passengers on board.
As for the M90, its first customer will be All Nippon Airways, which is due to receive the first planes in 2022, almost a decade later than expected.