Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation has started flight tests of its Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ) program at the company’s Moses Lake Flight Test Centre just outside Washington State in the United States.
The company said in a statement flight test aircraft FTA-1 successfully completed a three-hour-and-18-minute flight on Monday, October 17.
The aircraft, with its distinctive pointed nose, took off from Grant County International Airport at 1320 local time and touched down at 1638.
FTA-1 was ferried from Mitsubishi’s Nagoya facility to Moses Lake at the end of September. The company planned to have four of the MRJ’s five prototypes based in the US for flight testing as part of efforts to receive certification of the aircraft from US regulators.
The MRJ, which competes with Bombardier’s CSeries and Embraer’s E-jet family in the less-than-100-seats market, made its first flight on November 12 2015.
However, Mitsubishi suspended the flight test program shortly after the maiden flight for three months due to the need to complete some structural work and software upgrades on the airframe.
The aircraft, powered by Pratt & Whitney PW1200 geared turbofan engines, is available in either the 90-seat MRJ90 or 70-seat MRJ70 model.
In December 2015, Mitsubishi delayed first delivery of the MRJ – Japan’s first locally-produced commercial passenger aircraft since the country stopped making the YS-11 in 1974 – by a year to the second quarter of 2018.
To date, the MRJ has received 233 firm orders, 170 options and 24 purchase rights for the aircraft from the likes of ANA, which is the launch customer, Japan Airlines, Eastern Air Lines Group, US-based Skywest, Trans States Holdings and Air Mandalay.