Mitsubishi Aircraft is re-assessing its flight test campaign for the MRJ regional jet following the latest design changes, amid reports that it may require at least 500 more flying hours to achieve certification.
“We are now taking a close look at our flight test program reflecting the recent change and approximately how much time to be needed or which aircraft to be used, including how many additional flight test aircraft is required to obtain type certification,” says Mitsubishi in an email to FlightGlobal.
The company’s remarks followed a Japanese media report, quoting a Mitsubishi executive, stating that the original plan of 2,500 flight hours could rise to 3,000.
In its email, the airframer sought to clarify the remarks: “With regard to an increase of the total flight test hours to around 3,000 hours, this is not based on our official calculations, and we are currently in the process of finalizing the design change.”
It adds that it has a new management team, which is committed to “accelerating development of the MRJ toward type certificate acquisition.”
The executive was also reported as saying that the airframer could bring a test aircraft from its Moses Lake test facility in Washington State to June’s Paris air show. Mitsubishi Aircraft has had maintained a prominent presence at major air shows in recent years, but has yet to bring the MRJ.
Flight testing is continuing as Mitsubishi continues to work on a redesign of location of the avionics bay and wiring looms, which prompted it in January to announce that delivery of the first MRJ will be pushed from 2018 to mid-2020.
It is targeting to achieve type certification in mid-2019. The changes require a return to the preliminary design stage, and thus the programme has been delayed to incorporate those changes in the production aircraft.
Mitsubishi is also reviewing its production plan for the aircraft following the latest delay.