Mitsubishi Aircraft has obtained approval from the relevant authorities for a ferry flight of its MRJ regional jet to the US, and is in the final stages of preparing for the voyage.

In response to queries from FlightGlobal, the Japanese airframer says it is “still trying” to conduct the ferry flight of FTA-1 to Moses Lake, Washington, in August. Whether this timeline comes through however, is dependent on weather and aircraft conditions, it adds.

“We have completed most of the tests for FTA-1 and obtained approval from the aviation authorities to make the ferry flight. Currently we’re in the final preparation to conduct the flight,” it says.

“We will make an announcement after FTA-1 takes off from Nagoya Airfield.”

At the Farnborough air show in August, Mitsubishi president Hiromichi Morimoto said the target is to bring its first regional jet prototype to the US in August, so as to accelerate its flight-test programme. The original schedule was for a ferry flight in the fourth quarter of the year.

Mitsubishi says is considering three route options to the US: a northbound route with stops in Russia and Alaska; a southeast route with stops in Guam and Hawaii; or a westbound route with stops in southeast Asia, the Middle East and Europe.

It adds that flight tests for FTA-1 will likely start about three weeks after the aircraft arrives in Moses Lake.

The manufacturer plans to bring four of its flight test aircraft to the US within 2016. FTA-3 and FTA-4 will conduct their first flights this autumn, followed by FTA-5 in winter.

Mitsubishi is trying to bring its test fleet to the US early to accelerate its test programme, and provide a buffer for technical or certification issues that could arise.

It is targeting for certification of the MRJ in early 2018, before delivering the aircraft to launch customer All Nippon Airways in the middle of the year.

Source: Cirium Dashboard