Thursday, January 15, 2015

MRJ powers up for first time

Mitsubishi Aircraft Corp. has completed the first engine run of its Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ), another step toward first flight.

The first engine run, performed at Mitsubishi’s Nagoya Airport site Tuesday, marked the start of full-scale testing prior to first flight, which is scheduled for the second quarter.

The starboard engine’s initial run was designed to verify the operation of all the aircraft’s systems—hydraulic, fuel, air-conditioning and electrical—as well as the powerplant itself.

The company also announced it performed the wing up-bending test on the static strength test aircraft adjacent to the Komaki South Plant of Mitsubishi Heavy Industry’s Nagoya Aerospace Systems Works on Dec. 25, 2014.

According to Mitsubishi Aircraft Corp., this is a fundamental test of the airframe. The maximum load the aircraft is expected to experience while flying was applied to the wing of the static strength test aircraft. Mitsubishi said the test “produced anticipated results,” but did not elaborate further.

Further functional and engineering tests will now proceed before first flight.

The MRJ will be produced in two variants—the 92-seat MRJ90, which will be produced first, followed by the 78-seat MRJ70. The two versions will have common wings, empennage, engines and systems.

Mitsubishi calculates there will be a demand for more than 5,000 aircraft in the 70-90-seat category over the next 20 years.  The company believes a major driver will be airlines following the current trend of “up-gauging”—in this case from 50-seat regional jets. 
The MRJ has so far accumulated 407 orders, options and commitments.

(Alan Dron - ATWOnline News)

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