Composite image of the Mitsubishi MRJ - Image: Mitsubishi

Composite image of the Mitsubishi MRJ – Image: Mitsubishi

This story was written by John Cameron for AirlineReporter.

The MRJ will be the first airliner designed and produced in Japan since the 1960s.

A bright new day will soon be dawning in the world of commercial aviation as a new breed of narrow-body jets take to the skies in the coming years. Fittingly, one aircraft heralding this “new day” will be arriving from the land of the rising sun – Japan.

The aircraft, dubbed the MRJ (Mitsubishi Regional Jet), has been in development since 2008 when Mitsubishi Heavy Industries formed a subsidiary (the aptly-named Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation) for the design and production work. Once complete, it will be the first airliner designed and produced in Japan since the venerable NAMC YS-11 – a turboprop developed in the early 1960s to replace the aging DC-3s that were flying many of Japan’s domestic routes at the time.

The Slovak Government Tupolev Tu-154M  Photo: Jacob Pfleger | AirlineReporter

The Slovak Government Tupolev Tu-154M – Photo: Jacob Pfleger | AirlineReporter

Not too many opportunities exist in this day and age where one can still take flight on a classic Russian aircraft, let alone in a VIP configuration. Recently, I was fortunate enough to be invited to take part in a  flight onboard a Slovak Government Flying Service (SSG) Tupolev TU-154M. For me, this would be my first-ever flight on a Russian aircraft, and to say I was excited would be an understatement.

Time to board my first Russian aircraft Photo: Jacob Pfleger | AirlineReporter

Time to board my first Russian aircraft – Photo: Jacob Pfleger | AirlineReporter

The flight would be an empty ferry sector from Prague-Bratislava, a short 40-minute hop, but I knew I would savor every minute. SSG presently has four aircraft in its fleet, but only three are in operational service. The fleet consists of two Tupolev TU-154Ms (reg numbers OM-BYO and OM-BYR), with the latter being used for spare parts.

The remaining two aircraft are Yakovlev YAK-40s (reg numbers OM-BYE and OM-BYL). The Slovak Government not only carries out various head of state and other VIP missions, it also participates in various humanitarian and troop-carrying missions on behalf of the Slovak Government.

The Airbus A350 endures -40 deg C during cold testing - Photo: Airbus

The Airbus A350 endures -40 degrees Celsius during cold testing – Photo: Airbus

Airbus took MSN002A350-900 test bed aircraft, to the US Air Force’s McKinley Climatic Laboratory to give it a bit of a chill. Eglin Air Force Base, which hosts the lab, is located in the sunny state of Florida, but is able to provide low temperature testing. The A350 XWB was subjected to “multiple climatic and humidity settings,” including temperatures from 113 deg F (45 C) down to -40 deg F (-40 C).

During engine tests, to keep the aircraft in place, it had to be chained down. But it was important to make sure the engines could start up and operate at different temperatures.

Many of the A350 systems were checked during the tests including the in-flight entertainment, air conditioning, galleys, and water & waste systems. Luckily for us, Airbus did a great job documenting the process via photos and video.

Seeing double. Two EVA Air Boeing 777-300ERs at the Everett Delivery Center - Photo: Boeing

Seeing double. Two EVA Air Boeing 777-300ERs at the Everett Delivery Center – Photo: Boeing

Representatives from EVA Air, along with Taiwanese media, recently came to Seattle for a special double delivery of a pair of Boeing 777-300ERs. They weren’t the first for the airline (actually, the 16th and 17th), but they were still special. They were the first ones to offer Panasonic’s new eX3 in-flight entertainment (IFE) system and Global Communication Suite (GCS).

I have always been a fan of the green and orange livery on the outside of EVA’s 777s, but now there is more to love on the inside.

“Our new Boeing 777-300ERs equip us to initiate significant changes in the flying experience we offer. We are going to make flying more fun and more comfortable than ever for our passengers,” said EVA Air Chairman K.W. Chang.