The regional aviation market is in the midst of a substantial shift. With increased demand for point-to-point routes and rapid economic development in global markets, the industry is poised for enormous growth in the coming years. But challenges are evident as well. Regional operators will need to address aging fleets, corresponding maintenance cost increases and the effects of volatile (as of late, rising) fuel prices. And in the segment’s largest market, the United States, they will have to manage ongoing scope clause restrictions.
The MRJ is Japan’s first ever jet-powered commercial aircraft, but the United States also plays a key role in its development. With its primary testing hub, flight testing sites and a network of partners all located in the U.S., Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation have developed a regional aircraft that will advance the aviation industry when it enters the market in 2020. Here’s a look at the partners and locations around the U.S. making it possible.
The Mitsubishi Regional Jet is the first entrant in a new class of higher performance regional aircraft. As the only clean-sheet aircraft for the sub-100 seat category, the MRJ cuts a sharper silhouette than any other jet in its class with a more aerodynamic nose, sleek fuselage and lean wings featuring optimized nacelles.
The man behind the distinct design of the MRJ, many aspects of its interior cabin and its advanced flight deck is Hiroyasu Aruga, a Technical Supervisor & Chief Researcher in Mitsubishi Heavy Industries’ Research & Innovation Center.
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.
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.
The Mitsubishi Regional Jet touched down in France 5:05pm local time Thursday June 15 at Le Bourget Airport for the 52nd Paris Air Show. As part of the preparations for this landmark air show, we went through the meticulous process of painting the All Nippon Airways livery on the MRJ’s third flight test aircraft debuting at the air show this week. ANA, one of the largest airlines in Japan, is the MRJ’s first customer and has placed orders for 15 MRJs.
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.
Flying the aircraft at varying altitudes and speeds beyond maximum operation limits, the high-speed flutter test demonstrated sufficient margin on the normal operating envelope of the MRJ. Testing for flutter – a phenomenon that occurs when aerodynamic forces cause rapid self-excited destructive vibration – required a heavily instrumented aircraft operated by well-trained crew that was monitored by engineering specialists on the ground.