The MRJ team has been hard at work in 2018. Following a slate of important tests in 2017 and recent high altitude testing in Flagstaff, Arizona, the program has passed the midpoint in its flight test campaign—accumulating more than 1,700 total flight hours.
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.
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.
During the flight load survey tests, more than 250 pressure sensors and strain gauges affixed to the aircraft measured the maximum loads on its external surfaces and components. Throughout the test flights, the crew maneuvered the aircraft to reach specified G-loads, maximum rudder deflection, and roll and side slip thresholds as our engineers monitored the data and Japanese aviation authorities witnessed and approved the test via the telemetry room.