Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation (Toyama Town, Aichi Prefecture) is making preparations the first prototype of Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ) to fly to the United States for the first time. Prior to launching the first domestically produced passenger jet aircraft on the market, Mitsubishi will conduct test flights in the U.S. The jet will fly to an airfield in Moses Lake, Washington State, after stopping in Russia and other places on the way.
The weather in the designated area is usually sunny, making it possible to conduct test flights in an efficient manner. Mitsubishi plans to start test flights there in September and then bring in four out of five of the MRJ prototypes in the U.S.
The base selected for the test flights is Grant County International Airport on the outskirts of Seattle, which is about 8,000 km away from Japan across the northern Pacific Ocean. Because the flight range of the MRJ is 3,000 km, it will stop to refuel in Russia and Alaska on the way after departing from Aichi Prefecture’s Nagoya Airport in Toyama.
Grant County Airport is equipped with a 4,000 meter-long runway, and enjoys a high probability of sunny weather at 90%. Mitsubishi will conduct an increasing number of test flights using four prototype airplanes in order to accrue in the U.S. most of the 2,500 flight hours required to obtain the Japanese government’s safety certification.
The tests will continue for nearly one year. Since the first delivery of the MRJ aircraft to the ANA Holdings is scheduled for mid-2018, it is crucial that the test flights are executed smoothly in order to meet the delivery schedule.