Barely a month after the announcement of the end of the programme, the first Mitsubishi SpaceJet was destroyed in Moses Lake, Washington, USA. The SpaceJet programme is now history and aviation history.
Tabula rasa, or in other words, a clean slate. This could be the motto of Mitsubushi Aircraft Corporation, which has just destroyed its first SpaceJet (JA21MJ) at Moses Lake airport in Washington state, just over a month or so after announcing the end of the programme - the press release was issued on 7 February 2023. This is the very first time that a civilian programme at this stage of development has been cancelled, even though prototypes have been flown and tested extensively, airlines have ordered the aircraft and no less than one thousand billion yen, or almost 8 billion euros (!) have been spent... All for nothing.
...Will probably never be in a museum
This rapid destruction reminds us of another one. That of the Avro CF-105 Arrow on the other side of the border. But the Arrow had at least the excuse, if it is one, of being a supersonic twin-engine aircraft - a very beautiful one - resulting from a military program, whose first vocation would have been to intercept the possible and potential Soviet bombers coming to threaten the North American skies. The programme was stopped, the prototypes were systematically destroyed, and the engineers who had contributed to the programme migrated to the United States and made a major contribution to the American space programme, notably in the Apollo missions and the conquest of the Moon.
Scope Clause, FAA and Covid
On the Mitac (Mitsubushi Aircraft Corporation) side, there will remain, apart from the aircraft, a splendid hangar or assembly hall that is absolutely new and for good reason, it will never know the parts and components of the SpaceJet. The Scope clause (regulation that governs and limits the operation of regional jets within the networks of the major American airlines), the use - too late - of engineers and technicians with knowledge of the FAA certification standards and finally the impact of the Covid pandemic led to the end of the jet program.