MIAMI — The first Mitsubishi Regional Jet has left Nagoya Airport bound to the United States, in order to complete the jetlliner’s flight test campaign, prior to certification and subsequent entry into service.
The Flight Test Aircraft 1 (FTA-1) (JA21MJ • MSN 10001) left Nagoya at around 13:28 local on September 26, with scheduled technical stops at New Chitose, Russia and Alaska, before arriving to its flight test base at Grant County International Airport in Washington state in the coming days.
The manufacturer has also selected Roswell, New Mexico for Special Runway Testing tests, Gunnison, Colorado for High Altitude takeoffs and landings trials, and the McKinley Climactic Laboratory in Florida for Extreme Weather Environment tests.
In total, four Flight Test Aircraft will move to the U.S., while one aircraft will remain in Japan for flight testing.
Last August 28, a ferry flight attempt was aborted due to issues related to the monitoring function of the left air management system.
U.S.-based UTC Aerospace Systems is the manufacturer of the air management system for the MRJ. The company, resulting from the merge between Goodrich Corporation and Hamilton Sundstrand, provides about 25 systems to the regional jetliner, including evacuation, ice detection systems and primary flight controls.
Last June, during the Farnborough Airshow, Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation (MAC) confirmed that the MRJ is on track for certification and entry-into-service (EIS) 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.
Conceived for regional markets, the MRJ offers two variants. A 78-seat MRJ70, and a 92-seat MRJ90. These aircraft are aimed to break into a market segment widely dominated by Embraer and Bombardier.
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.