Mitsubishi Aircraft has completed the assembly of the 5th SpaceJet M90 flight test aircraft, the largest version of its regional jet. The aircraft was moved from the company’s factory in Japan to Nagoya airport, where it will fly to the US to join the other aircraft in the model certification program.
The newest SpaceJet test aircraft has received over 900 improvements to its design to meet the certification requirements of FAA, the US civil aviation agency. According to the company, the 5th prototype of the M90 already meets the final configuration for approval – and is still expected for 2020.
This year is crucial to the manufacturer’s plans, which has been going through several setbacks recently. One was the cancellation of 100 orders from Trans States Holdings, precisely because the M90, with its 88 seats, does not fit the requirements of the US market.
Since 2015, Mitsubishi has been conducting flight tests of the jet, then called MRJ90. Last year, the planemaker decided to revise the entire commercial aircraft program that was renamed SpaceJet and had its smaller variant, MRJ70, replaced by the still unpublished M100 model.
The intention was to adapt the aircraft to the scope clause that exists between the pilot airline syndicate of the major US airlines, which prevents planes from being used by their regional arms with a maximum takeoff weight of over 86,000 lbs and 76 passengers on board. It is expected that in the coming months SpaceJet will finally come into service with the airline All Nippon Airways.