Mitsubishi wants accelerated MRJ testing

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Mitsubishi Aircraft is hoping to accelerate testing of the 88-seat Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ), which has slipped behind schedule. In Q4 2016, or possibly Q1 2017, the first flight test aircraft (FTA-1) was slated to transfer to the USA for flight testing from Moses Lake, Washington, USA.

It is essential for Mitsubishi Aircraft to get the test aircraft fleet to Washington as soon as possible as Japan has heavily congested airspace and unreliable weather. In Moses Lake, testing can achieve two flights per day in contrast to the pace achievable in Japan of less than one. Executives from Mitsubishi have been reported saying the ferry flight could now occur as early as summer 2016.

FTA-1 has completed 22 flights, with the first stall test carried out on flight 19. The flight envelope has been expanded to approximately 10,500m, the top speed reached is Mach 0.65 (250 kts or approximately 450km/h), and emergency procedures have been tested, such as extending the landing gear without hydraulic pressure. Safety testing has also included checks of the ram-air turbine (RAT) operations for emergency electric power generation, and the testing under conditions anticipated to occur if power in one of the engines were to be lost.

The second of five planned test aircraft is expected to begin flying by the end of the May 2016.

After a five-year delay caused by design changes and certification bottlenecks, Mitsubishi Aircraft plans to deliver the first MRJ90 by mid-2018.

May 13, 2016

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