The Mitsubishi Regional Jet has gotten off to a strong start in 2018. The first major test of the year was for high altitude testing, an important benchmark that gauges whether engines, auxiliary power and other important aircraft systems can perform well in thin, low density air.
Following snow and inclement weather at the original location of Gunnison, Colorado, the MRJ team re-located Flight Test Aircraft 4 (FTA-4) to Flagstaff Pulliam Airport in Flagstaff, Arizona between January 11th and 17th to perform high altitude flight testing.
At an elevation of 7,014 feet, Flagstaff presented an optimal location and the necessary conditions for FTA-4 to be tested. In addition to testing the starting capabilities of the Pratt & Whitney PW1200G engine and auxiliary power unit (APU), the aircraft was also evaluated for takeoff distances and rates of climb in extreme elevations that it will encounter during commercial service. High altitude locations are often in mountainous regions where runways tend to be shorter and rapid climbing is necessary.
The deployment proved successful and demonstrated acceptable engine operating characteristics during high altitude takeoff operations. Results of the test were also valid and the data obtained is undergoing further analysis.