MIAMI — Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation (MAC) has revealed details about the progress of its Regional Jet (MRJ) program, Japan’s first commercial airliner in half a century.

The most recent update informs that the third MRJ90 intended for the flight test campaign (FTA-3 • JA23MJ • MSN 10003), made its first flight on Tuesday November 22, flying for about two hours.

The airframer also announced that a third MRJ90 flight test aircraft (FTA-4 • JA24MJ • MSN 10004) arrived last November 15 to Grant County International Airport (MWH) in Moses Lake, Washington, where it joined FTA-1 and FTA-2 to complete a planned 2,500-hour flight test campaign. An additional MRJ is expected to be ferried to MWH before the end of the year.

Other locations in the United States will also welcome the MRJ for specific tests. Roswell, New Mexico (Special Runway Testing), Gunnison, Colorado (High Altitude takeoffs and landings), and the McKinley Climactic Laboratory in Florida (Extreme Weather Environment). A fifth test aircraft will remain in Japan.

Static Strength Test Completed

Last November 1, MAC completed the MRJ static strength test, during which  the maximum load calculated from simulation of all flight conditions was applied to all or part of the test aircraft.  According to MAC, the tests confirmed that the aircraft is able to withstand 1.5 times the maximum load to be exerted for a specified time, and that all the technical data necessary for certification was successfully gathered.

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.

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. The airframer is also in talks with Iran for 20 aircraft.