The MRJ enjoys its first flight – Photo: Mitsubishi
Earlier this week, the Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ) took to the skies for the first time. The aircraft liftedÂ off from Nagoya Airfield (NKM)Â and flew for about 90 minutes before landing.Â The flight not only was special for the aircraft manufacture, but also for the country of Japan, since they have now joined the exclusive club of countriesÂ that produce a flight worthy airliner.
People are lined up along the fences to watch the MRJ’s first flight – Photo: Mitsubishi
â€œThe MRJ successfully took to the sky today thanks to ongoing cooperation and support from all members involved,â€ said Hiromichi Morimoto, President, Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation. â€œWe 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.â€
The Mitsubishi MRJ – Photo: Mitsubishi
It has long been the plan of Mitsubishi Regional to bring their new regional jet family, the Mitsubishi Regional Jet MRJ90 and the MRJ70 (the number represents planned seating capacity) to Washington State to take advantage of the favorable weather and existing aviation talent in the region.
This week marked the official opening of the Seattle Engineering Center for Mitsubishi, and their partner Aerotec. Located quite close to Boeing Field, this center will bring 150 highly-skilled jobs to the Georgetown neighborhood of Seattle. 50 of those jobs will be intra-company transfers from Mitsubishi regional in Nagoya; the remainder will be local hires.
The front of the brand-new Aerotec hangar at Grant County International Airport – Photo: Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter
Local firm Aerotec was chosen as a partner because of its expertise in flight test logistical and regulatory support. Or at least, so summarized their president Lee Human.
Sadly for local AvGeeks, the engineering center is separate from the flight test center. That is located at Grant County International Airport in Moses Lake, which is about three hours to the eastÂ of Seattle.
The facility in Moses Lake will have a hangar that is 65,000 square feet and house about 200 additional employees. It will be an important part of making sure that the MRJ is a successful airliner.
A model at Farnborough showing the EasternÂ livery on the MRJ90 – Photo: Jon Ostrower
Whenever there is news that a startup airline is going to launch with a classic name-sake, I get a little excited. When press releases started coming in saying that Eastern Air Lines was going to start up again, I was happy, but of course skeptical.
Even back in May when they signed an initial order with Boeing and placed deposits for 10 737-800NG and 10 737 MAX 8 aircraft, I was unsure about the viability of the airline.
Then, lastÂ week at the Farnborough Airshow, they announcedÂ the signing ofÂ a Memorandum of Understanding for 20 Mitsubishi MRJ90 aircraft, with purchase rights to an additional 20. Now, I am starting to pay a bit more attention.
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 â€œnew dayâ€ will be arriving from the land of the rising sun â€“ 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 â€“ a turboprop developed in the early 1960s to replace the aging DC-3s that were flying many of Japanâ€™s domestic routes at the time.
Can you spot what is different about this Boeing 747SP (C-GTFF)? If you guessed the engine attached to the upper deck -- you win. Pratt & Whitney is testing the PW1200G engine. Photo by Guy Norris.
Guy Norris, with Aviation Week, recentlyÂ posted an interesting story and photos on Pratt & Whitney’s flying test bed – a class Boeing 747SP. P&W is in the process of testingÂ Â their PW1200G engine, that is slated to for the Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ) and Norris was able to take a tour of the unique and classic aircraft.
P&W uses a Boeing 747SP that wasÂ originallyÂ delivered to Korean Airlines (reg HL7457) on January 30, 1980. It flew with the airline until it was placed into storage in 1998. Then in 2008, P&W purchased the 747SP to use for engine testing.
Big kudos to P&W for keeping a few rows of first class seats and the mural. For those who dream of the “golden age” of flying, those are the seats you used to fly in. Compare them to some of of the products available today: EmiratesÂ AirlinesÂ or Singapore Airlines first class product and really, how can you miss the “golden age” that much?
To see more photos and learn more about the testing check out Norris’ story onÂ AviationÂ Week. Also check out additional photos of the 747SP on Airliners.net.