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 lifted off from Nagoya Airfield (NKM) and flew for about 90 minutes before landing. 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 countries that produce a flight worthy airliner.
People are lined up along the fences to watch the MRJ’s first flight – Photo: Mitsubishi
“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.”
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 east 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 Eastern 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, last week at the Farnborough Airshow, they announced the signing of 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 “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.