MIAMI — A Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ) aborted its second attempt to fly to the United States last Sunday, due to issues related to the monitoring function of the left air management system, the company said.
The aircraft left its base at Nagoya Airfield on August 28 at around 13:00 local, but it was forced to return two hours later.
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 Saturday, the aircraft returned to Nagoya just one hour after its first intended flight to the United States. The first of four test aircraft was expected to arrive at Grant County International Airport on Monday, after technical stops in Russia and Alaska.
“We will work with related parties to promptly move forward with the ferry flight, after completing the inspection and necessary measures,” the company said in a statement.
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.
The flight test campaign will use five aircraft. Three of these will perform the campaign in the United States. In August 2015, Mitsubishi opened the doors of its Engineering Center in Seattle, while Grant County Airport in Moses Lake, Washington, is going to be the Flight Test Base.
The manufacturer has also chosen Roswell, New Mexico, for Special Runway Testing; Gunnison, Colorado, for High Altitude takeoffs; and landings trials, and the McKinley Climactic Laboratory in Florida, for Extreme Weather Environment tests. One aircraft will remain in Japan for flight testing.
The MRJ marks a new chapter in Japan’s aerospace industry, which last built a commercial airliner in 1962 – the YS-11 turboprop, that was discontinued about a decade later, after building just 182 aircraft.
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 (Brazil) and Bombardier (Canada).
To date, the MRJ has logged 447 orders and commitments. This year, MAC has logged an order for 10 MRJ90s (plus 10 options) from Swedish lessor Rockton, the first European customer for the type, and is currently in conversations with Iran for 20 aircraft, the former an order valued at €1 billion ($1.1 billion) at list prices.