Nagoya, November 11, 2015 –
Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (MHI) today conducted the first flight of the first flight test aircraft for the MRJ (Mitsubishi Regional Jet), their next-generation regional jet.
The MRJ took off from Nagoya Airport and confirmed its basic characteristics and functionality in ascent, descent and turning in airspace off the Pacific coast during its 1.5-hour first flight.
“The MRJ successfully took to the sky today thanks to ongoing cooperation and support from all members involved,” said Hiromichi Morimoto, President, Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation. “We will make our utmost efforts towards type certificate acquisition, committing all our resources to develop and produce the finest regional jet aircraft to enter commercial service in 2017.”
“Operational performance of the MRJ was far better than expected. We had a significantly comfortable flight,” said Pilot Yasumura, who served as captain.
Mitsubishi Aircraft and MHI will continue to conduct flight tests for the first delivery scheduled for the second quarter of 2017. The flight tests in the US are scheduled to start in the second quarter of 2016, from the MRJ base at Grant County International Airport at Moses Lake in Washington State.
Going forward, Mitsubishi Aircraft and MHI continue to devote their collective resources towards the successful completion of the MRJ project.The unit of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, which built the World War Two-era Zero fighter, is hoping the $47-million regional jet will help it oust Canada’s Bombardier Inc as the world’s second-biggest maker of smaller passenger jets behind Brazil’s Embraer SA.
The MRJ is Japan’s first commercial passenger aircraft since the 64-seat YS-11 entered service 50 years ago. The first MRJ is slated for delivery in June 2017 to Japan’s biggest carrier, ANA Holdings. Mitsubishi aims eventually to sell more than 2,000 aircraft in the competitive market segment. Mitsubishi says the MRJ burns a fifth less fuel than aircraft of similar size, thanks to new-generation engines from Pratt & Whitney, a subsidiary of United Technologies Corp.
Japan’s last attempt to establish itself as a commercial aircraft maker ended in failure. Production of the YS-11, built by a consortium that included Mitsubishi Heavy, finished after only 182 planes were built.
That program however helped Mitsubishi Heavy and other companies forge ties with Boeing Co, turning them into major suppliers and partners of the U.S. aircraft maker and helping revive an aerospace industry that was dismantled after World War Two.
Clean sheet advantages
- Highest fuel efficiency
- Lowest environmental impact
- Most passenger comfort
- Designed to increase reliability
MRJ is proud to be the launch customer for Pratt & Whitney’s PurePower® Geared Turbofan™ engine which was optimized specifically for the MRJ. The new gear system allows the fan, low pressure compressor and turbine to rotate at optimum speeds which enables engine to have game-changing fuel efficiency. In addition, its Geared Turbofan™ engine architecture requires 60% fewer turbine airfoils than conventional turbofan engines and reduces maintenance time and cost.
So far it has secured 223 firm orders, most recently in January when Japan Airlines asked for 32 planes. The biggest single purchase, for 100 aircraft, was from U.S. regional airline operator Trans State Holdings. Those Japanese companies build 35 percent of Boeing’s advanced 787 carbon-composite jetliner, including the wings, the most complex part. Japan’s biggest carmaker, Toyota Motor Corp, and largest trading company, Mitsubishi Corp, each own a 10 percent stake in the MRJ venture.
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