The new Avro RJX took to the air for the first time on 28 April. RJX-85 msn G-ORJX (msn E2376) took off at 12:16 local time from Woodford, with Avro RJX Project Pilot Alan Foster at the controls. Blustery April weather had threatened to further delay the flight, but lightning, hail, and rain made way for clear blue skies at the time of takeoff. The maiden flight lasted 2 hours and 54 minutes, during which G-ORJX reached an altitude of 20,000 feet. Pilot Alan Foster said the RJX-85 handled extremely well throughout the flight. “Any pilot converting from the Avro RJ or BAe 146 will feel immediately at home in the RJX,” he said. “The most obvious differences from the earlier aircraft were the lower fuel flow rates and the improved climb rate due to the increased thrust at altitude.” The RJX orderbook includes 14 firm orders and 10 options: 12 firm orders for RJX-100s and eight options from British European, two firm orders for RJX-85s from Druk Air, and six options for RJX-100s from CityFlyer. The total orderbook for the BAe 146/Avro RJ/Avro RJX family stands at 399, plus 14 options.