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VIDEO: Mitsubishi Regional Passenger Jet Takes Flight

New Mitsubishi commercial aircraft takes aim at Bombardier and Embraer for small-jet marketplace.

A new small commercial aircraft is celebrating its first flight, while looking to take market share away from two worldwide leaders in the process. Japanese conglomerate Mitsubishi announced the Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ) took to the skies for its inaugural flight on November 11.

The 90-seat variant of the commercial jet departed from Nagoya Airport (NKM) with much fanfare. During the 90-minute flight, the aircraft was put through a number of standard tests, including functionality in climbing, descending and other basic maneuvers. Pilots in charge of the first flight were quick to praise the overall handling of the MRJ.

“Operational performance of the MRJ was far better than expected,” pilot Yoshiyuki Yasumura, the captain of the test flight, said in a press release. “We had a significantly comfortable flight.”

The regional jet will come in both a 70-seat and 90-seat variant, taking aim at a marketplace dominated by Canada’s Bombardier and Brazilian manufacturer Embraer. Executives at Mitsubishi Heavy, the manufacturer of the MRJ, claim the aircraft will use 20 percent less fuel than other comparable aircraft.

Once launched, the MRJ will be the first new commercial aircraft to come out of Japan in over 50 years. The previous aircraft, the NAMC YS-11, ended its production run in 1974 with less than 200 built. To date, Reuters reports the MRJ has over 200 firm orders, with nearly half coming from the United States. The MRJ is set to begin test flights in the United States in 2016, operating from Grant County International Airport (MWH) in Washington State.

The aircraft is the second Asian-built aircraft to celebrate a debut in 2015. Earlier this year, China’s C919 Aircraft debuted, advertised as an alternative to the Airbus A320 and Boeing 737.

[Photo: Mitsubishi]

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Worcester November 12, 2015

Can't comment on the crucial economics of the jet, but it's a nice looking aircraft.