Now six months deep into a two-year flight test programme, Mitsubishi Aircraft continues searching for ways to accelerate the certification schedule for the 88-seat MRJ90 regional jet.

The first flight test aircraft is due to fly to the USA in the fourth quarter of this year or the first quarter of 2017, but it remains possible that the MRJ90 could make the ferry flight from Japan this summer, says Hideyuki Kamiya, head of strategic marketing for Mitsubishi Aircraft.

Getting the flight test fleet to the USA is considered essential for accelerating the testing schedule. In Japan’s heavily congested airspace with unreliable weather, the MRJ test team can plan to make two test flights per day, Kamiya says.

In Moses Lake, Washington, the Pratt & Whitney PW1200G-powered MRJ test fleet would be able to complete several sorties per day, he adds.

Speaking at the US Regional Airline Association’s annual convention, Kamiya detailed the progress of the only flight test aircraft now in service. FTA-1 has completed 22 flights, which included the first stall test on the 19th flight. The aircraft also has expanded the flight envelope to 35,000ft, speeds up Mach 0.65 and emergency procedures, such as extending the landing gear without hydraulic pressure.

The second of five planned test aircraft is expected to begin flying by the end of the month, Kamiya says. After a five-year delay caused by design changes and certification bottlenecks, Mitsubishi Aircraft plans to deliver the first MRJ90 by mid-2018.

Source: Cirium Dashboard