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PICTURE: MRJ FTA-2 completes maiden sortie

The second prototype of the MRJ regional jet programme conducted its first flight on 31 May, meeting the airframer's May target for its maiden sortie.

In a statement, Mitsubishi Aircraft says FTA-2 took off from Nagoya airport and “confirmed its basic characteristics and functionality” during its 134-minute flight off the Pacific coast.

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Mitsubishi Aircraft

“As with the first flight conducted with the MRJ’s FTA-1 in November of last year, we had a quiet, smooth first flight with FTA-2,” says Mitsubishi president Hiromichi Morimoto.

“After this, we will move ahead smoothly with development of the subsequent flight test aircraft, and make our utmost efforts towards type certification acquisition and the first delivery.”

Unlike the FTA-1's first flight, FTA-2's landing gears and flaps were engaged during the flight. Its thrust reverser system is however scheduled to be engaged only after "the middle stage of flight tests", a spokesman tells Flightglobal.

FTA-2 will primarily be responsible for carrying out flight tests to confirm the regional jet’s performance. The aircraft was originally scheduled to take its maiden flight on 30 May, but this was cancelled due to the wet weather in Japan.

Mitsubishi and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries are set to establish a main flight test base at Grant County International airport at Moses Lake, Washington State, this summer.

Mitsubishi is using five flight test aircraft for the flight campaign, which is expected to cover 2,500 hours of testing. The Pratt & Whitney PW1200G-powered MRJ is scheduled for first delivery in mid-2018.

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