Mitsubishi Regional Jet test aircraft arrives to U.S.

The MRJ is a single-aisle aircraft that offers configurations for 70- or 90-passenger seating that reportedly is the first regional jet to adopt composite materials for its wings and vertical fins on a significant scale.

The first Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ) test aircraft from Mitsubishi Aircraft Corp. (Nagoya Airport, Japan) arrived to Moses Lake, Wash. on Sept. 28. Mitsubishi Aircraft says its committed to carrying out frequent, multiple flight tests in the U. S. to accelerate the development of the MRJ toward type certificate acquisition in 2018.

The aircraft, FTA-1, took off from Nagoya Airfield on Sept. 26 and arrived at Grant County International Airport in Washington on Sept. 28, local time.

Mitsubishi Aircraft remain committed to achieving steady progress in flight tests with the assistance of three engineering bases (Moses Lake Flight Test Center, the MRJ flight test center within Grant County International Airport; Seattle Engineering Center and Mitsubishi Aircraft Headquarters in Japan) working together toward the success of the MRJ project.

The MRJ is a single-aisle aircraft that offers configurations for 70- or 90-passenger seating that reportedly is the first regional jet to adopt composite materials for its wings and vertical fins on a significant scale. Indeed, it boasts the first out of autoclave (OOA) vertical empennage (horizontal and vertical stabilizers and fuselage interface) on a commercial aircraft. The company has developed advanced vacuum-assisted resin transfer molding (A-VaRTM), citing weight reduction and productivity gains in primary structure. (See http://www.compositesworld.com/articles/resin-infusion-taking-off )

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI), the parent corporation of MRJ airframer Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation (MAC), manufactures a variety of aircraft components including the composite wing box for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and parts for the 777.  The first Japanese company to manufacture and market jetliners, MHI/MAC launched the Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ) in 2008. As of late 2015, orders for the MRJ totaled 407, with US regional operators Skywest and TransState ordering/optioning 200 and 100 aircraft respectively. MAC management sees the Embraer E-Jet E2 series, which use much less composites, as its main competition.