MIAMI — Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporations’ (MAC) third Regional Jet (FTA-2 • JA22MJ • MSN 1002) arrived on Monday afternoon at Grant County International Airport in Moses Lake, Washington, following a six-day ferry flight from Nagoya Airfield in Japan.
The aircraft joins MRJ FTA-1 and FTA-4 on the certification campaign of the aircraft in the United States. 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.
MAC plans to deploy four of the five Flight-Test Aircraft to the USA, while a fifth jetliner will carry out autopilot trials in Japan. FTA 1 and 2 are set to perform functional and performance tests, FTA-3 will assess the flight characteristics and FTA-4 will be fitted with a passenger cabin to evaluate the interior, noise and anti-icing systems.
In Seattle, 150 employees from local engineering firm AeroTEC and Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation will be supporting the flight test and certification. Meanwhile, at Moses Lake, about 250 staff will work directly on the flight test aircraft.
The MRJ90 made its first flight in November 2015. Although Japan has gained relevance in the last years as a major aerospace industry player, its experience in aircraft manufacturing is not a novelty. The last passenger airliner built by Japan was the turboprop YS-11, which had just limited success with just 182 aircraft built since its rollout in 1962.
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.