Mitsubishi has revealed details of the MRJ regional jet's flightdeck configuration, and has opted against incorporating sidestick controllers adopted by rivals Bombardier and Sukhoi for their new twinjets.

The 70- to 92-seat, Pratt & Whitney PW1000G geared turbofan-powered MRJ was launched in March on the back of an order from All Nippon Airlines for 25 aircraft, with first flight due in 2011 and deliveries from 2013.

The joint-definition phase is under way with suppliers, and the programme is due to reach its critical design review milestone in autumn next year, says Mitsubishi Aircraft executive vice-president engineering Junichi Miyakawa.

Rockwell Collins has been selected to provide the fly-by-wire aircraft's avionics and flight control computer. An image released by Mitsubishi shows the flightdeck features four large rectangular LCD screens side-by-side, as well as a head-up display on the captain's side.

Despite the FBW configuration, Mitsubishi has adopted a convention yoke control wheel for pilot control, rather than the now more fashionable sidesticks.

"The cockpit layout is based on market research," says Miyakawa, regarding the decision not to opt for sidestick controllers. He says that decision was also influenced by Mitsubishi's "collaborative partnership" with Boeing, which has bucked the sidestick controller trend started by Airbus 20 years ago and remained faithful on the control yoke for its FBW 777 and 787 airliners.

The MRJ will be a largely metal aircraft, with only 28% of its structure being carbonfibre and 1% glassfibre. The bulk will be aluminium (58%), with the remainder made up of titanium (9%) and steel (4%). While the wing and empennage is mainly carbonfibre, the fuselage is aluminium.

"We decided against a carbonfibre fuselage as regional aircraft are operated on high frequencies, so there is more likelihood of this more fragile material suffering damage from ground vehicles," Miyakawa says.

One innovation that Mitsubishi is claiming for the MRJ's cabin involves the design of the seats, which use the patented "3D-Net Textile".

The airframer says this provides a higher level of comfort, better shock and vibration absorption along with thickness and weight savings, and enables the seat to be slimmer so leg-room is maintained at reduced seat pitches.

Source: Flight International