Grant County International airport in the US state of Washington is to be used as a flight-test centre for its Mitsubishi Regional Jet programme.
Mitsubishi Aircraft says it picked the airport due to the large aerospace industry cluster in the state, and also because the airport satisfies all major requirements of a test centre. These include having long runways, flexibility for take-offs and landings, and also a good chance of fair weather.
The Japanese airframer has also signed a letter of intent with Aerospace Testing Engineering & Certification to co-operate in flight-test work. The Seattle-based company provides flight testing, data analysis, and FAA certification services for aircraft manufacturers.
Mitsubishi is building five flight-test and two ground-test aircraft. The airframer says test modules such as envelope expansion, system tests, performance tests and icing tests will be conducted in the USA. A good portion of the ground and flight tests will still be conducted in Japan.
The MRJ is scheduled to take its first flight in the second quarter of 2015. Eastern Air Lines today signed at the Farnborough air show a memorandum of understanding covering 20 MRJ90s, and purchase rights for a further 20 aircraft.