In 2017, the MRJ development program made significant strides. A re-organization at Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation offices earlier last year strengthened program teamwork, which led to notable testing progress and a successful debut at the Paris Air Show.
While the MRJ continues on its path toward type certification, we take a look back at the important milestones the program has achieved in 2017.
It’s a sunny and hot July afternoon in Eastern Washington, and Kenji Okimoto is racing down the runway of Grant County International Airport. Okimoto, a vice president at Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation America who runs operations support at Moses Lake Flight Test Center, is looking to position himself near the right runway so he can take a group of guests to observe today’s take-off of the Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ). Air traffic control switched the runway due to a change in the wind conditions.
At Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport in Mesa, Arizona, Flight Test Aircraft 4 (FTA-4) once again donned its black mask to continue with extreme temperature tests. FTA-4 was deployed in August and spent multiple days in the Arizona heat operating in a maximum temperature of 42° C, or 108° F. Engineers collected data that will be used to further validate the performance of the aircraft's Environmental Control System (ECS), hydraulics system and powerplant.
As new government regulations call for more environmentally friendly aircraft, aerodynamics will play a key role in how airlines build their fleets for the future. Powered by its advanced aerodynamic design, the MRJ’s best-in-class fuel efficiency and lower emissions make it fit for the future.
The Japan Civil Aviation Bureau performed four familiarization flights aboard the Mitsubishi Regional Jet between August 5th and 7th at Moses Lake Flight Test Center. During the course of three days with clear skies and warm temperatures, flights were conducted in airspace near Grant County International Airport and three JCAB pilots took turns piloting FTA-4.
At the Moses Lake Flight Test Center in Washington, FTA-4 underwent cargo smoke testing between April 7 and April 22, 2017. To set up the test, engineers at Moses Lake installed a smoke machine and flexible hoses inside the cabin, along with lights, smoke detectors, and cameras to monitor real-time smoke generation. During the test, the hoses that were routed under the floor of the aircraft pushed smoke towards the test areas in the cargo compartment and the amount of smoke was controlled using the video cameras.
This year’s Paris Air Show marked the official debut of the Mitsubishi Regional Jet.While at the show, we spoke with MRJ program test pilots Captain Martin Trout and Captain Yoshiyuki Yasumura inside the flight deck and cabin of the MRJ as they shared details about the aircraft’s flying experience, performance attributes and benefits to airline customers.