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.