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MRJ flight test jets on ground for upgrades

Mitsubishi Aircraft’s four flight test MRJ regional jets at Moses Lake have been on the ground for more than a month, undergoing upgrades and executing ground tests.

In response to queries from FlightGlobal, the Japanese manufacturer says the aircraft have been undergoing modifications since 13 February.

“The modifications are primarily related to improvements in the aircraft wiring harnesses to bring the aircraft closer to the production configuration,” says Mitsubishi.

The manufacturer is also upgrading the aircraft’s avionics suite, as well as the primary flight control computer software to the latest standards.

“These modifications will prepare the aircraft for the next phases of testing which include natural icing, avionics and auto flight, performance and stability and control testing,” it adds.

While the four Pratt & Whitney PW1200G-powered aircraft will be upgraded in critical areas, they will still not be in the final type certification configuration.

Two additional prototypes in the final configuration, reflecting design changes to the wiring harness and avionics bay, will join the test fleet towards the end of the year. These two jets are undergoing final assembly in Nagoya.

While on the ground, the four flight test prototypes have conducted several tests. These include ACARS (aircraft communications addressing and reporting system) tests, engine runs for its air management system, under smoke penetration test, verified operation of its standby instruments, and others.

Mitsubishi adds that the four aircraft will return to flight tests “very soon” and that their time on the ground poses no impact to its target of delivering the first aircraft to launch customer All Nippon Airways in mid-2020.

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