RAA 2016: Mitsubishi aims to advance MRJ’s US flight tests

The MRJ flight test programme is proceeding well after 22 flights of the first MRJ90 flight test aircraft (FTA) according to Hideyuki Kamiya, director, head of strategic marketing, Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation.

The flights have included the first deployment of the ram air turbine (RAT), engine and APU re-starts, emergency descent and the first stall test, added Kamiya (left in photo, alongside Masao Yamagami, chairman and CEO, Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation America).

Of the other aircraft, FTA 2 is now in final stages before is first flight. Ground testing and shakedown have been completed and Kamiya expects the aircraft to fly during May.

FTA 3 has been undergoing ground testing of flap and control surface functions, FTA 4 has just had both its engines installed and FTA 5 (in the colours of launch customer All Nippon Airlines), which will be used for autopilot tests, will have its powerplants fitted soon.

Kamiya noted that the fatigue strength test aircraft was completed in March and the testing is already under way. The static test aircraft began its campaign in May last year and has completed a large percentage of the required tests.

Four flight test aircraft will eventually be deployed to Mitsubishi’s Moses Lake Flight Test Centre in Washington State, USA. “We’re going to be testing in the US because in Japan, due to the weather, we may only be able to do two flights a day, whereas at Moses Lake we can fly much more,” explained Kamiya.

The original plan was to begin the US flight tests in 4Q16-1Q17, but the company in now trying to expedite earlier commencement in summer 2016. “The main reason for this is that we want to give ourselves some insurance for anything unexpected,” Kamiya remarked.

Bernie Baldwin, editor, Low-Fare & Regional Airlines/laranews.net
Charlotte, NC, USA

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