MIAMI — Mitsubishi Aircraft has revealed details about the progress its Regional Jet (MRJ) program, Japan’s first commercial jet in half a century.
The new update informs that all seven aircraft intended for the testing campaign will be completed by Q3 of this year. The fatigue test frame, which is the last to be built, was completed in June.
The flight test campaign will use five aircraft: Plans call for the first two flight test aircraft to perform system, performance and function tests; the third to assess flight caracteristics and avionics; the fourth to carry out interior, noise and icing test and the fifth will be dedicated to test autopilot functionality.
The sixth frame built has been undergoing static load tests since last year. At the end, the fatigue test frame will have completed the equivalent to 80,000 flights over a period of more than 27 years, or eight flights a day during 10,000 days.
Mitsubishi expects to carry out much of the flight test campaign in the United States. This August, the Manufacturer will inaugurate its Seattle Engineering Center to support the testing activity in the U.S., while Grant County Airport in Moses Lake, Washington, is set to become the main Flight Test Base. The manufacturer has also chosen McKinley Climatic laboratory in Florida for extreme environment testing.
New Completion and Delivery Center
The manufacturer has also disclosed details about the progress in the new Komaki South Production Plant, located next to Nagoya Airfield in Japan. The work started last January and is advancing at a fast pace according to Mitsubishi. These premises will be used to perform final assembly, outfitting, and painting, and will also be the delivery center of the manufacturer.
Despite the delay to the MRJ’s first flight from the second quarter to the third quarter of 2015, the company assures that the program remains on schedule for its targeted initial delivery in the second quarter of 2017.
As of this date, the MRJ has reaped 223 firm orders. Mitsubishi Aircraft has also secured 164 options and 20 letters of intent. The last attempt to build a successful commercial aircraft in Japan took place in the 1960s, with the NAMC YS-11. Only 182 planes were built by the consortium, in which Mitsubishi Heavy Industries played a role.