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RAA 2015: MRJ prepares flight test programme

Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation says the MRJ is still on target to enter service in the second quarter of 2017, the date set after a schedule alteration in 2014.

The company’s VP & GM sales and marketing, Yugo Fukuhara, noted that the first engine run was successfully completed back in January of this year and reported the progress of each flight test aircraft (FTA).

Having run its engines, FTA1 is currently conducting ground tests as is FTA2. FTA1 is obviously designated to perform the first flight and will then go on to do initial envelope expansion. FTA2 will address systems functionality and performance.

FTA3, which is nearing completion, will focus on flight characteristics and avionics, while FTA4 is being readied to be the first of the aircraft to have a full interior, as this aircraft will be doing demonstration flights. This aircraft will also examine noise and anti-icing characteristics.

FTA5, which is not yet complete but which has had its fuselage painted in the colours of launch customer ANA, will handle autopilot testing. Of the five FTAs this is the only one which will not do any flight testing in the USA.

The static test aircraft has been doing well in its tests, remarked Fukuhara, while the fatigue test aircraft will begin testing in 3Q15.

Mitsubishi is to eastablish a Seattle Engineering Centre which will oversee the flight tests in the US, at the base venue of Moses Lake, WA, plus Gunnison-Crested Regional Airport, CO, Roswell International Air Center, NM, and McKinley Climatic Laboratory, AL. High altitude takeoff and landing tests will take place in Colorado; special runway tests will be performed in New Mexico; and extreme environment tests will occur in Alabama.

“We’re doing flight tests in the US to make the flight test programme more efficient,” Fukkuhara noted. The company aims to have about 50 engineers from Japan at the Seattle Engineering Center and add around 100 US engineers.

Finally Fukuhara reported, a new final assembly factory is under contrsution at Komaki in Japan. Scheduled for completion in early 2016, the facility will have a moving assembly line. All production aircraft will be assembled there.

Bernie Baldwin, editor, Low-Fare & Regional Airlines/LARAnews.net
Cleveland, Ohio, USA

Photo shows FTA3 with simple black stripe and (left) FTA5 fuselage in ANA colours.

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