Mitsubishi SpaceJet Completes First Certification Flight

Today, the Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation announced the completion of the maiden flight of its Flight Test Vehicle 10 (FTV10). With the maiden flight taking place in Japan, this particular FTV is the first Mitsubishi SpaceJet M90 in “final, certifiable baseline configuration”. Completion of this maiden flight has been anticipated for quite some time and will allow it to move further on in the certification process – ever closer towards production.

Mitsubishi SpaceJet Completes First Certification Flight
FTV10 on its maiden flight. Photo: Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation

“I am very pleased that FTV10, which was handed over from Mitsubishi Heavy Industries in January this year, successfully conducted its first flight today. I would like to express my deepest gratitude to all those who are continuously supporting the program. We are excited for this latest step in the certification of the Mitsubishi SpaceJet M90.” – Hisakazu Mizutani, President of Mitsubishi Aircraft

Flight details

The certifiable version of the SpaceJet M90, known as FTV10, took off at 14:53 Japan Standard Time. The flight took place out of the Prefectural Nagoya Airport – located partway between the major Japanese cities of Osaka and Tokyo.

According to Mitsubishi’s press release, the jet conducted basic aircraft performance tests in normal operating conditions above the Pacific Ocean over the span of two hours. The aircraft then returned to Nagoya at 16:40 local time. The completion of FTV10’s first flight allows Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation to enter the final phase of certification flight testing for the SpaceJet M90.

Specifics of the maiden flight provided by Mitsubishi:

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

The pilot aboard FTV10’s maiden flight, Hiroyoshi Takase, remarked,

“Today’s flight test was conducted smoothly and according to plan. The aircraft delivered on expectations and handled just as I anticipated.”

spacejet FTV10
The Mitsubishi SpaceJet M90 FTV10 before its maiden flight. Photo: Mitsubishi Aircraft

An eight-year delay

At the end of January, we reported that there were issues with the aircraft’s electronic system. Because of this, a design change was needed, thus holding back the completion of the test aircraft.

Prior to the news of the January delay, delivery was scheduled for mid-2020. With the delay and the changes that had to be made, we are looking at a delivery date that could be at least eight years past the original 2013 target. The latest estimate for a first delivery is pegged at March 2021.

All Nippon Airways is set to be the global launch customer, set to be the first to take delivery of the SpaceJet.

spacejet FTV10
The first flight took place in Japan on March 18th. Photo: Mitsubishi Aircraft

What’s next?

Coming up in the next few weeks, Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation plans to continue flight tests with FTV10 out of Nagoya Airport. The company will also prepare FTV10 for a ferry flight to Moses Lake Flight Test Center (MFC) located in the middle of Washington State in the US. Here, it will join the remainder of the Mitsubishi SpaceJet M90 test fleet for the final phase of type certification flight testing.

“We are all proud of this latest accomplishment, which reflects the hard work of a dedicated team, the culmination of an organizational transformation and all of the engineering changes made since 2016. We look forward to continuing our progress toward commercial certification of the M90 program.” – Alex Bellamy, Mitsubishi Aircraft’s Chief Development Officer.