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MRJ to undergo cold soak tests in Florida

One of the Mitsubishi Aircraft MRJ regional jet flight test aircraft has been sent to McKinley Climatic Laboratory at Eglin AFB in Florida for cold weather testing.

The manufacturer tells FlightGlobal that FTA-4 arrived at McKinley on 26 February to start the extreme weather testing.

“There the test aircraft will be tested to some of the most extreme temperatures it may encounter during commercial operation,” it said separately in a programme update issued on 28 February.

The cold weather testing comes after FTA-4 was used in natural icing tests, which saw it temporarily based out of Chicago Rockford International airport to collect data on its performance in natural icing conditions.

Those tests were the first ones away from its Moses Lake, Washington base. Three MRJ test aircraft based out of Moses Lake for certification testing, while the fourth remains in Japan.

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 confirmed recently that it is reviewing its production plan for the aircraft following the latest delay.

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