MIAMI — Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation has announced in a press release that flight testing of its new Regional Jet (MRJ) has started in the United States.
Last September, the first of four flight test vehicles (FTA-1) (JA21MJ • MSN 10001) arrived to Grant County International Airport (MWH) in Moses Lake, Washington, where over the next months they will complete a planned 2,500-hour flight test campaign.
The arrival of the aircraft was delayed a month after two previous attempts were aborted due to issues related to the monitoring function of the left air management system.
The jetliner took off from MWH on Monday October 17 at 13:20 local time (20:20 GMT). The total flight time was 3 hours and 18 minutes.
Although there were reports earlier this month citing a further delay in the entry into service (EIS) for the MRJ. The program remains on track for its initial delivery by mid 2018. The target was set in December of last year when the airframer announced a one-year delay, largely attributed to changes in the design, manufacturing process and parts.
MRJ testing will be spread all across the US, based in Washington with the Seattle Engineering Center and Moses Lake Flight Test Center at the base airport. Flight testing will also take place in Roswell, New Mexico for Special Runway Testing tests, Gunnison, Colorado for High Altitude takeoffs and landings trials, and the McKinley Climatic Laboratory in Florida for Extreme Weather Environment tests.
To date, the MRJ program has logged 447 orders and commitments. This year, Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation has logged an order for 10 MRJ90s (plus 10 options) from Swedish lessor Rockton, the first European customer for the type, and 20 aircraft from Aerolease Aviation.
Currently, the airframer is in conversations with Iran for 20 aircraft, valued at $1.1 billion at list prices.