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PICTURE: Mitsubishi Aircraft rolls out first MRJ

Mitsubishi Aircraft has rolled out its first flight test aircraft for the MRJ programme, in good time ahead of its planned 2Q 2015 first flight.

The Japanese airframer showcased aircraft 10001 before 500 guests comprising of government officials, suppliers, customers and journalists at Mitsubishi Heavy Industries’ Komaki South plant in Nagoya on 18 October. Mitsubishi also hosted a live webcast of the ceremony on its website.

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The sleek regional jet bears Mitsubishi’s distinctive red, black and gold livery. Mounted on its wings are the Pratt & Whitney PW1200G engines. This is Japan’s first commercial passenger aircraft to be built in over 50 years, since the NAMC YS-11 turboprop programme terminated production in 1973.

At a press briefing before the roll-out ceremony, Mitsubishi’s chief engineer Nobuo Kishi says the programme’s second and third flight test aircraft are also in final assembly. The second flight test jet is undergoing wing to body join, while fuselage sections of the third aircraft is being fused.

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SOURCE: MAVIS TOH

Mitsubishi is using a fleet of seven test aircraft - five for flight tests and two for ground tests, for the MRJ programme.

The MRJ order book stands at 375 aircraft: 191 firm, 160 options and 24 purchase rights. Japan Airlines has also signed a letter of intent for 32 of the regional jets.

The MRJ90 is scheduled to enter service in 2017, a year before its strongest competitor, Embraer’s E2 family of re-engined and re-winged E-Jets.

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