Click below for data links:
MRJ-2014-07-MRJ FLIGHT DECK
MRJ-2014-07-MRJ MOSES LAKE TEST SITE-A
MRJ-2014-07-MRJ MOSES LAKE TEST SITE-B
MRJ-2014-07-MRJ MOSES LAKE TEST SITE-C
MRJ-2014-09 - UPDATE
MRJ-2014-10 - 1ST FLT TEST MRJ ROLLOUT-B.jpg
MRJ-2014-12 - 2ND Q 2015 FLT
MRJ-2015-08 - Seattle Engrg Site-A.jpg
MRJ-2015-08 - Seattle Engrg Site-B.jpg
MRJ-2015-11 - First Flight.jpgt
May 2014: The Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation said it has moved the Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ) static strength test airplane from the final assembly line in Nagoya to a test station.
The company will prepare the airplane, one of two ground test airplanes that will be part of the (MRJ) testing program, for static strength tests to take place this summer.
The Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation last year postponed the (MRJ)’s first flight to the second quarter of 2015. First delivery is being targeted for the second quarter of 2017.
Seven test airplanes will make up the (MRJ) program, including the two ground test airplanes (one for the static strength test and another for fatigue testing).
The following was written by John Cameron for AirlineReporter (http://www.airlinereporter.com).
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 airplane heralding this “new day” will be arriving from the land of the rising sun (Japan).
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 (MRJ) will eventually compete against such well-known airframes as the Bombardier (BMB) CRJ700 and CRJ900, as well as a flock of new narrow body aircraft that will arrive on-scene in the latter part of this decade. Most notable among this new generation is the Embraer “E2” series.
Unlike the Embraer (EMB) family of airplanes, which is currently slated to offer three variants, Mitsubishi (MRJ)’s offering will initially come in only two flavors (the MRJ70 (78-seater) and the MRJ90 (92-seater)). However, (MRJ) has been fairly open in disclosing that they are also considering a 100-seat class version, the MRJ100.
Eventually, each model of the (MRJ) is expected to come in three variants: Standard (STR), Extended Range (ER) and Long Range (LR). The (ER) and (LR) variants will provide increased range in exchange for longer runway requirements during takeoff.
Mitsubishi (MRJ) is designing the (MRJ) with an eye towards commonality between the versions. The two airplane types will share the same wing design, as well as the same empennage, engines, and navigation/control systems. Additionally, a single type rating will enable a pilot (FC) to fly either version.
Like most modern airplanes, the (MRJ) is expected to make full use of fly-by-wire technology, in which conventional manual flight controls are replaced with an electronic interface, that converts pilot (FC) input into digital signals that actuate the airplane’s ailerons, elevator, and rudder. The flight deck will be equipped with Rockwell Collins’ Pro Line Fusion avionics and touch-screen displays, complete with a “synthetic vision” heads-up display (HUD).
According to (MRJ), two of the key concepts of the airplane’s design are improved passenger comfort and reduced environmental impact. Let’s take a quick look at how they are hoping to achieve their design goals.
In terms of passenger comfort, all models and variants will offer 2×2 seating, ensuring that each passenger gets either a window or an aisle seat. With just 29 inches of seat pitch, the seating may feel a bit tight, but (MRJ) hopes to offset the lack of pitch with a slim seat design featuring “3D-Net Fabric.” This fabric appears to conform to the shape of your rear and back, which makes for a more comfortable flying experience. Mitsubishi (MRJ) also claims that the (MRJ) will surpass all competitors in seat width, as well as arm and shoulder clearance to the side wall.
An interesting side note here (the MRJ will feature a single cargo compartment at the rear of the airplane vs the standard belly cargo compartment of many other commercial airplanes).
When it comes to reducing the airplane’s environmental impact, Mitsubishi (MRJ) is relying on advanced aerodynamics and the use of the new Pratt & Whitney (PRW) (PW1000G) high-bypass geared turbofan engine (the same engine slated for use on the Bombardier (BMB) CSeries and Embraer (EMB)’s E2 series).
(MRJ) is claiming to have the “greenest” and quietest airplane in its class. The latter is important, because it will allow the (MRJ) to operate during noise-restriction curfews and to potentially avoid required usage of noise-abatement flight paths.
After overcoming a number of setbacks and delays, recent milestones in the (MRJ)’s development include preparations for airframe strength and fatigue testing, as well as the roll-out of the first flight test engine pylon from USA-based Spirit AeroSystems.
The (MRJ) is currently on pace to enter service in mid-2017, when launch customer, All Nippon Airways (ANA) begins operating the first of 15 that it has ordered (with options for up to 10 additional airplanes). But, you won’t have to travel to Japan to experience the (MRJ). Skywest and Trans States Holdings, both of which operate regional jets in the USA for various legacy carriers, have placed orders for 100 and 50 MRJ90 airplanes, respectively. The two holding companies also have options for up to 150 additional airplanes.
Additional orders are likely to follow as the project nears completion and the first flight tests get underway. So, assuming all goes according to Mitsubishi (MRJ)’s plan, one can expect to see the Japanese-made narrow body streaking out of the rising sun and landing at an airport near you within three years.
June 2014: Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation (MRJ) has mounted the Pratt & Whitney (PW1200G) geared turbofan (GTF) engine onto the first MRJ flight test airplane in preparation for first flight in early 2015.
The work was performed at Mitsubishi Heavy Industries’ (MHI) final-assembly factory. This engine mount marks a significant milestone toward the (MRJ)’s completion.
On June 5, Pratt & Whitney (PRW) delivered the first (PW1200G) engine to Mitsubishi Aircraft (MRJ) for installation on the (MRJ).
Seven test airplanes will make up the (MRJ) program. The (MRJ)’s first flight is targeted for the second quarter of 2015. First delivery is slated for the second quarter of 2017.
July 2014: Myanmar regional carrier, Air Mandalay (AMP) placed a firm order for six Mitsubishi Regional Jet MRJ90s and taken options on a further four airplanes, marking its first move into jet operations.
The Eastern Air Lines Group, a Miami-based start-up trying to revive the iconic airline brand, has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation (MRJ) to order 20 firm MRJ90s plus hold purchase rights for +20 more of the Japanese regional jets.
Eastern Air Lines Group President & (CEO), Edward Wegel outlined his plans at a Farnborough Airshow press conference to re-launch Eastern (EAL)-branded scheduled services by the end of next year. The original Eastern (EAL) operated from 1928 to 1991. The new Eastern (EAL) plans to start operations, providing charter flights with Boeing 737-800 airplanes starting in 2015 following (FAA) certification, and anticipates beginning to transition to scheduled services by the end of 2015.
It appears (EAL) would really start to grow in 2019, when deliveries of the MRJs are slated to commence. Wegel foresees MRJs featuring the classic Eastern (EAL) livery flying from Miami to destinations throughout the Caribbean and Latin America. “We want to recapture the early, pioneering years of Eastern,” Wegel said.
Wegel said Eastern (EAL)’s MRJs will be configured in two classes, most likely with 82 seats. The MRJ is “an excellent airplane for the routes we want to serve, and on the timetable we want to serve them,” he added. Wegel declined to name specific routes (EAL) will fly.
The MRJ will be powered by Pratt & Whitney (PRW) (PW1200G) geared turbofan (GTF) engines. (PRW) President Commercial Engines, David Brantner, also speaking at Farnborough, said (PRW) is “old enough to remember when amongst our customer rolls we could see Eastern Air Lines (EAL). We’re thrilled that once again we’ll see Eastern Air Lines as a Pratt & Whitney (PRW) customer.”
Wegel said (EAL) is not worried about delays to the (MRJ) program, particularly because it doesn’t need the airplanes for several years. “There’s never been a major airplane design that hasn’t had some delays in it,” he said. “It’s not something that overly concerns us.”
August 2014: Japan Airlines (JAL)/(JAS) has ordered Mitsubishi Regional Jets (MRJ) as it prepares to revitalize its J-AIR regional subsidiary’s fleet. (JAL)/(JAS) announced it had signed a letter of intent (LOI) with Mitsubishi for 32 MRJs. The split between the 78Y-seat MRJ70 and the 92Y-seat MRJ90 was not revealed.
The MRJs will start to arrive from 2021 and (JAL)/(JAS) “intends to use it as the choice replacement for all other current regional jets including the EMB-170 by 2021,” becoming J-AIR’s next-generation regional jet on domestic routes.
(JAL)/(JAS) added, “As a network carrier that also operates regional jet airplanes, the (JAL)/(JAS) Group will not only be purchasing the MRJ, but also aims to provide know-how from the operator’s perspective in the development of this airplane. We hope to support the birth of a Japanese passenger jet which we can boast about to the world, and thereby contribute to the development of the Japanese economy.”
September 2014: Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation (MRJ) has informed media that it will hold a “rollout ceremony” for the first completed Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ) on October 18.
The ceremony will take place at manufacturing facilities in Nagoya, Japan. Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation (MRJ) said in July it had mounted the Pratt & Whitney (PW1200G) geared turbofan (GTF) engine onto the first (MRJ).
The company last year postponed the (MRJ)’s first flight to the second quarter of 2015. First delivery is being targeted for the second quarter of 2017. Flight testing is expected to take place in both Japan and the USA.
The Eastern Air Lines Group (EAL), a Miami-based start-up trying to revive the iconic airline brand, has ordered 20 Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation MRJ90s with 20 options. The firm order follows a memorandum of understanding (MOU) placed at the Farnborough Airshow in July. Deliveries are scheduled to begin in 2019.
Eastern Air Lines Group President & (CEO), Edward Wegel said the airplane will “proudly join Eastern (EAL)’s fleet starting in 2019 and will be christened the "Eastern Whisperjet".”
Mitsubishi Aircraft President & (COO), Teruaki Kawai said the (MRJ) program has been making “steady progress, and its state-of-the-art aerodynamic design and a game-changing engine will significantly cut fuel consumption, noise and emissions, helping airlines enhance competitiveness and profitability in the future. We expect that the economics, comfort, and other advanced features of the (MRJ), the next generation regional jet, will contribute significantly to the growth of Eastern Air Lines (EAL).”
(MRJ) plans to roll out the first completed (MRJ) on October 18. The company last year postponed the (MRJ)’s first flight to the second quarter of 2015. First delivery is being targeted for the second quarter of 2017. Flight testing is expected to take place in both Japan and the USA.
Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation (MRJ) has received orders for 335 MRJs (171 firm, 160 options, 4 purchase rights), comprising 25 (15 firm, 10 options) from All Nippon Airways (ANA); 100 (50 firm, 50 options) from Trans States Holdings; 200 (100 firm, 100 option) from SkyWest; 10 (6 firm, 4 purchase rights) from Air Mandalay.
This order brings the current number of orders for the (MRJ) to 375 airplanes (191 firm, 160 options, 24 purchase rights). In addition, Mitsubishi Aircraft (MRJ) signed a letter of intent (LOI) with Japan Airlines Company (JAL)/(JAS) for 32 (MRJ) airplanes.
October 2014: The first Mitsubishi Aircraft (MRJ) flight-test airplane, unveiled October 18, will undergo about six months of ground evaluations before taking to the air in the second quarter of 2015.
At its initial public presentation, the prototype for a 92-seat regional jet appeared to have been assembled with great precision, with rivets regularly placed and major assemblies’ modules smoothly joined.
The second flight-test airplane is coming together much faster than the first, final assembly of which began a year ago, a Mitsubishi Aircraft official said. Airframe contractor Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI), manufacturing contractor to developer Mitsubishi Aircraft, built a static strength-test airframe before the first flight test unit.
(MHI) did not follow tradition in presenting the first airplane by rolling it out of its assembly plant, at Komaki South, Nagoya. Instead, the company rolled the airplane into a hangar, where guests had been assembled.
A common remark among the guests was that in the flesh the airplane looked unusually pretty. This issue has some importance: unlike other commercial airplanes, the (MRJ) incorporates a little styling to please passengers and attract attention. In particular, it has a very pointy nose, presumably at some small cost in efficiency.
The good finish on the airplane is a key issue. The designers aimed at cutting production costs, and improving aerodynamic performance, by building the airplane with unusual levels of precision. A year ago, (MHI)’s managers said the first airplane was coming together with minimal adjustment, such as shimming. This seemed all the more remarkable because it was the first airplane on which mistakes and rework could be expected.
Mitsubishi Aircraft plans to use five (MRJ)s for the flight test program, achieving certification in the second quarter of 2017. There will also be a second static airframe, for fatigue tests.
All seven of those airframes will be built to the design of the MRJ90, the larger of two versions to which Mitsubishi Aircraft is committed. The eighth will be the first MRJ70, designed to seat 78 passengers in an all-economy (Y) arrangement.
The tests to be conducted on the first airplane before flight include checks of the Parker hydraulics, Hamilton Sundstrand air conditioning, lighting and Sumitomo Precision landing gear, said Mitsubishi Aircraft. Ground maneuvering will also be assessed.
Then the two Pratt & Whitney (PRW) (PW1200G) geared turbofans will be fired up, along with the Hamilton Sundstrand auxiliary power unit (APU). Finally, vibration, electromechanical and taxi tests will be conducted, while the static strength airframe is subjected to 100% design loads.
In the air, the first airplane will be used for flight envelope expansion and system tests, the second for assessing performance, the third to measure detailed flight characteristics, the fourth for assessing exterior noise and for interior and icing tests, and the fifth for checking the autopilot.
The third airplane is also in final assembly.
Mitsubishi Aircraft (MRJ) has 375 orders and commitments for the (MRJ): (191 firm, 160 options, 24 purchase rights). In addition, Mitsubishi Aircraft (MRJ) has signed a letter of intent (LOI) with Japan Airlines (JAL)/(JAS) for 32 MRJ airplanes.
December 2014: Mitsubishi Aircraft (MRJ) has completed the wing-body join of its 2nd flight test MRJ, and is on track for a maiden flight in the second quarter of 2015 - - SEE ATTACHED - - "MRJ-2014-12 - 2ND Q FLT 2015."
January 2015: News Item A-1: Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation 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 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 airplane’s systems (hydraulic, fuel, air-conditioning and electrical) as well as the powerplant itself.
(MRJ) also announced it performed the wing up-bending test on the static strength test airplane adjacent to the Komaki South Plant of Mitsubishi Heavy Industry’s Nagoya Aerospace Systems Works on December 25, 2014.
According to (MRJ), this is a fundamental test of the airframe. The maximum load, the airplane is expected to experience while flying, was applied to the wing of the static strength test airplane. (MRJ) 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 (MRJ) calculates there will be a demand for more than >5,000 airplanes 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.
News Item A-2: Japan Airlines (JAL)/(JAS) has finalized an order for 32 Mitsubishi Regional Jets (MRJs), which will replace some of its regional fleet from 2021.
Last August, (JAL)/(JAS) signed a letter of intent (LOI) with Mitsubishi (MRJ) for 32 MRJs, although the split between the 78-seat MRJ70 and the 92-seat MRJ90 was not disclosed.
In a statement issued January 28th, (JAL)/(JAS) and Mitsubishi (MRJ) said the (LOI) was converted into a firm order on January 28. Deliveries will begin in 2021, although the split between variants remains unconfirmed.
The 32 MRJs will be operated by (JAL) regional subsidiary, J-AIR on domestic routes. (JAL) said the (MRJ) will form a key part of its regional fleet, as it pursues its “steady network expansion.” The Japanese carrier added that it selected the (MRJ) based on its performance and in-service operational support.
To date, the (MRJ) program has accumulated 223 firm orders, 160 options and 24 purchase rights, including this latest order from (JAL).
At the same time as announcing the (MRJ) letter of intent (LOI) last August, (JAL) ordered 15 EMB-170s and EMB-190s, plus 12 options. Osaka-based J-AIR already has 15 EMB-170s and nine Bombardier CRJ200s. The new EMB-Jets will arrive from 2015, as the CRJ200s are retired.
March 2015: News Item A-1: Mitsubishi Aircraft (MRJ) named Hiromichi Morimoto as its next President, effective April 1. He is formerly (MHI) Senior VP, VP Commercial Aviation & Transportation Systems.
April 2015: Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation has pushed back the first flight of the Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ) from the current quarter to “September or October of this year,” but still plans for a second quarter 2017 first delivery.
The first flight delay is the latest schedule adjustment for the MRJ program, which was originally slated to achieve first flight in the 2012 second quarter. Mitsubishi said the delay will allow it to “fully incorporate the verification results of the various ground tests and related feedback into the first flight test airplane.” Once the first flight test airplane, an MRJ90, gets off the ground, Mitsubishi said it plans an “intensive” flight test program to allow first delivery to take place in the 2017 second quarter, which would keep the current delivery schedule on track. First delivery was originally supposed to occur in the 2014 first quarter.
Mitsubishi (MRJ) completed the first engine run on the first flight test MRJ in January. It said the manufacturing of the second flight test airplane is “proceeding smoothly.” The second flight test airplane is scheduled to take to the air in the fourth quarter of this year. (MRJ) plans to eventually have five MRJs in the flight test program.
By the 2016 second quarter, four of the five flight test MRJs will be flying in the USA. All five will initially start flight testing in Japan, but only the fifth flight test airplane will remain in Japan for the duration of its flight testing.
Mitsubishi has secured 223 firm orders for the MRJ.
May 2015: "Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation (MRJ) to Establish Seattle (MRJ) Engineering Center" by Air Transport World (ATW)'s Aaron Karp, May 12, 2015.
Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation (MRJ) plans to establish an Engineering Center in Seattle, Washington, USA to support Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ) flight testing in the USA.
By the 2016 second quarter, four of the five flight test (MRJ) airplanes are expected to be flying in the USA. (MRJ) flight testing in the USA will be based at Grant County International Airport in Moses Lake, Washington, USA.
Speaking at the Regional Airline Association (RAA) convention in Cleveland, Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation (MRJ) VP & General Manager Sales & Marketing, Yugo Fukuhara said the Seattle center, to be established later this year, will employee 150 engineers, 50 of whom will be dispatched from Japan. The other 100 engineers will be “local experts” hired from the USA, Fukuhara said.
First flight of the (MRJ), originally planned for 2012, is now slated for September or October of this year. Four of the five MRJ flight test airplanes will move to the USA after initial flight tests in Japan. In addition to the Moses Lake base, Gunnison–Crested Butte Regional Airport in Colorado will be used for high altitude flight tests and Roswell International Air Center in New Mexico will be used for special runway tests.
June 2015: Airlines considering ordering the Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ) are waiting until after the aircraft’s planned first flight later this year before making a purchase decision, according to Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation President, Hiromichi Morimoto.
Briefing media at the Paris Air Show, Morimoto was questioned about why MRJ firm orders have stalled at just 223 aircraft. “Our aircraft has not flown yet,” he said. “During the show and beforehand, I have been in talks with [potential] customers and they ask me when first flight will be. [Potential] customers need to see the aircraft fly before making a decision. I am confident orders will come through after first flight.”
Morimoto said Mitsubishi remains on track to achieve first flight with the (MRJ) in September or October of this year. The (MRJ) was originally scheduled to achieve first flight in 2012 and in April the latest schedule was adjusted, with first flight moving from the current quarter to later this year. Mitsubishi plans to deliver the first (MRJ) to All Nippon Airways (ANA) in the 2017 second quarter. “We currently do not have any issues that affect the schedule for first delivery,” Morimoto said.
The first (MRJ) flight test aircraft went through low-speed taxi tests last week. The second flight test aircraft is currently undergoing stationary ground tests. The third flight test aircraft is nearly assembled, according to Mitsubishi. The fourth and fifth flight test aircraft are in the assembly process. The fifth flight test aircraft will feature (ANA)’s livery.
The five flight test aircraft, four of which will transfer to the USA for flight testing after initial flights in Japan, are expected to accumulate a total of 2,500 flight hours. All of the flight test aircraft are MRJ90s, which can seat 92Y passengers in an all economy-class configuration. The company also plans to produce MRJ70s, which would be designed to seat 78 passengers in an all economy-class configuration.
The pace of MRJ production in Nagoya, Japan is expected to increase gradually. “It’s our intention to begin production at the rate of one aircraft per month and ultimately ramp up to 10 aircraft per month on the assumption that we do get a good number of orders,” Morimoto said.
August 2015: News Item A-1: The Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation (MRJ) celebrated the initiation of a new Engineering center to be located in Seattle. 100 USA workers and about 50 Mitsubishi Aircraft engineers from Japan will be located at the new plant in the Georgetown area, just north of Boeing Field. They will work there on analyzing flight-test data to get the new Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ) certified and into service with airlines. This new Engineering center will be tied tightly to the (MRJ) flight test program currently being conducted at Moses Lake in Eastern Washington State, where another 200 workers will be employed. See attached Seattle Times article written by aerospace reporter, Dominic Gates: "MRJ-2015-08 - New Engrg Site-A/B.jpg."
News Item A-2: "Japan Set for First Flight of Regional Jet in Late October" By Chris Cooper, "Bloomberg News," August 31, 2015.
Japan is home to some of the world's biggest automakers, is one of the world's biggest ship makers, and its trains run on subways and high-speed tracks around the world. One industry Japan hasn't been able to penetrate is construction of passenger jets.
Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation (MRJ) is aiming to change that with Japan's first new passenger plane in more than >4 decades (and its first passenger jet ever). The Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ) will make its first flight in the second half of October, for about an hour, the Nagoya-based company said.
Japan wants to break the virtual lock that Embraer (EMB) and Bombardier (BMB) have on the market for small passenger jets, as the Boeing Company (TBC) and the Airbus Group (EDS) control the market for larger passenger planes. With Montreal-based, Bombardier (BMB) now focusing on its larger CSeries jets, which will be able to carry as many as 160 passengers, Mitsubishi Aircraft (MRJ) sees an opening it believes it can fill. The 92-seat MRJ90 sells at a list price of US$47.3 million.
"Mitsubishi could have a really good plan if they can mass produce it and keep costs down," said Edwin Merner, President of Atlantis Investment Research Corporation in Tokyo, who has flown in the YS-11, Japan's last homegrown passenger plane. "They have the competency to do it and if the plane is good, they have a good chance of succeeding."
The YS-11 was a turboprop made by Nihon Aircraft Manufacturing Corporation, a consortium of manufacturers that included Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd, owner of Mitsubishi Aircraft; Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd; and Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. Only 182 of the planes were sold.
Nihon Aircraft stopped the YS-11 production line in 1974, after little more than a decade. The company disbanded in 1983 with debts of about 36 billion yen/US$297 million, according to the "Asahi Shimbun" newspaper.
"The YS-11 was like a state project, and one of the reasons it failed, was that it ran madly out of control, where the budget was concerned," said Geoff Tudor, a principal analyst at Japan Aviation Management Research, who has worked in the airline business for more than >4 decades. "Leadership was also a problem, as was maintenance and follow-up support."
This time, Mitsubishi Aircraft is leading the project and has negotiated a deal with Boeing (TBC) under which the airplane maker will help with marketing, development and post-sales activities.
The Japanese company this month opened an Engineering center in Seattle that will employ 150 engineers, including about 50 sent from Japan, to access professional expertise on aircraft development and speed production of the (MRJ).
Mitsubishi Aircraft also has opened sales centers in the USA and Europe. So far, (MRJ) has won 407 orders, including 184 options and purchase rights.
Mitsubishi Aircraft (MRJ) still needs to work on expanding its customer base and ensuring it can handle any problems they may have, said Richard Aboulafia, a Vice President of Teal Group, a Fairfax, Virginia-based consultant.
Mitsubishi Aircraft has won orders from Japan's two largest airlines, (ANA) Holdings Inc and Japan Airlines (JAL)/(JAS) Company. Its biggest orders are from SkyWest Inc and Trans States Airlines Inc in North America.
"Mitsubishi needs to continue to develop a large support and marketing infrastructure, and to diversify outside of the USA and Japanese markets," Aboulafia said.
Delivery of the (MRJ) has been delayed three times, with the plane now set to be handed to (ANA) in 2017, almost four years late. The plane will come in 78- or 92-seat models, with the larger one set to debut first.
The (MRJ) will use a geared turbofan engine built by United Technologies Corporation's Pratt & Whitney (PRW) unit, which is expected to make the jets at least +20% more fuel-efficient than similar aircraft, the company has said. The company expects global demand for about 5,000 jets in the 70- to 90-seat size over the two decades to 2030.
Brazil's Embraer (EMB) has also been active, upgrading its jets with new engines to take advantage of rising demand.
"Japan had its first success in producing small cars," said Masayuki Kubota, Chief Strategist at Rakuten Securities Economic Research Institute. "At first, big cars were quite popular in the USA and worldwide, but now more energy-efficient cars are popular, and that's how Japanese makers increased market share. There's still a big chance for Japanese aircraft to enter the market."
September 2015: News Item A-1: "MRJ 1st Flight Set for October 26 - 30 Window" by (ATW) Aaron Karp, September 30, 2015.
Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation (MRJ) has narrowed the target schedule for first flight of the Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ) to the last week of October.
Mitsubishi had previously said the first (MRJ) flight would occur in the second half of October. In a September 30 statement, it specified that first flight will take place between October 26 and October 30. “In implementing the flight test, utmost priority will be given to safety,” Mitsubishi added. “The flight schedule is subject to change if deemed necessary due to conditions relating to the aircraft, weather, etc.”
After years of delays, the first (MRJ) flight test aircraft, an MRJ90, is expected to fly for an hour above Nagoya Airport during its initial test flight. There will be five MRJ90s in the flight testing program, four of which will transfer to the USA for flight testing after initial flights in Japan. The five aircraft are expected to accumulate a total of 2,500 flight hours.
First (MRJ) delivery is scheduled for the 2017 second quarter to All Nippon Airways (ANA).
October 2015: Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation (MRJ) has postponed the first flight of the Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ) to the week of November 9, citing a needed repair to the flight test aircraft.
The repeatedly delayed first flight schedule had been most recently set for the week of October 26. However, Mitsubishi Aircraft announced October 23 that the flight would be pushed back by two weeks “because of the need for repair of [the first flight test aircraft’s] rudder pedal.”
(MRJ) added that the pre-flight review by Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport & Tourism will take place next week. Once the agency gives approval for first flight, Mitsubishi Aircraft will perform high-speed taxiing tests on the aircraft.
The first (MRJ) flight test aircraft, an MRJ90, is expected fly for an hour above Nagoya Airport during its initial test flight. First delivery of the (MRJ) is slated for the second quarter of 2017 to All Nippon Airways (ANA).
November 2015: Pratt & Whitney (PRW) has commenced flight testing on the (PW1900G) engine designated to power the Embraer (EMB) EMB-190-E2 and EMB-195-E2 aircraft.
The geared turbofan (GTF) engine completed its first flight affixed to (PRW)’s Boeing 747SP flying testbed airplane. The flight occurred from (PWC)’s flight testing center in Mirabel, Quebec.
“The start of engine flight testing is an important milestone for us as we bring the EMB-Jets second generation from concept to reality,” Embraer Commercial Aviation President & (CEO), Paulo Cesar Silva said.
The (PW1900) is the fourth engine in (PRW)’s (GTF) family of engines. (PRW) has already delivered (GTF) engines to Bombardier (BMB) for the CSeries, Airbus for the A320neo and Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation for the Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ).
The Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ) completed its first flight on November 11, taking off from Nagoya Airport and flying for about 90 minutes before returning.
Though the milestone flight occurred more than >3 years later than originally planned, it marked a major achievement for Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation (MRJ) and the Japanese manufacturing industry, which debuted a commercial aircraft for the first time since the (NAMC) YS-11 turboprop made its first flight in 1962. Production on the YS-11 ended in 1974.
(MRJ) President, Hiromichi Morimoto called the (MRJ)’s first flight a success and said the first MRJ90 is on track to enter service with All Nippon Airways (ANA) in the second quarter of 2017. The test flight’s captain said the MRJ90 flight test aircraft, powered by Pratt & Whitney (PRW) (PW1200G) geared turbofan (GTF) engines, performed “far better than expected” and the flight was “significantly comfortable.”
There will be five aircraft in the (MRJ )flight test program, with four of the five transferring to the USA after initial flying in Japan. Flight tests in the USA are slated to begin in the second quarter of 2016. The five aircraft are expected to accumulate 2,500 hours of flying in the flight test program.
December 2015: News Item A-1: The Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ) program, which finally achieved first flight in November after multiple delays, appears on the verge of yet another delay.
Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation (MRJ) and its parent company, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, released a short statement December 16 saying that, while flight tests are “currently continuing,” the two companies “are now reviewing the entire [program] schedule from testing to first delivery.” The results of the review will be released by the end of December, the companies said.
Tokyo-based "Kyodo News" reported that first delivery to All Nippon Airways (ANA), scheduled for the 2017 second quarter, “will be postponed.” The news agency cited Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, saying the company would give details and the reason for the delay as soon as the week of December 21.
The first (MRJ) flight test aircraft, an MRJ90, achieved first flight November 11, more than >3 years after the original (MRJ) program schedule called for first flight. The Pratt & Whitney (PRW) (PW1200G)-powered aircraft has flown two more times since the first flight. There are slated to be five MRJ90s in the flight test program, including four that will transfer to the USA for flight testing after initial flying in Japan.
News Item A-2: "(MRJ)’s First Delivery to (ANA) Delayed by Another Year" by (ATW) Alan Dron, December 24, 2015.
Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation has announced another major delay to the service introduction of its Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ).
At a December 24 press conference in Nagoya, Japan, Mitsubishi Aircraft and its largest stakeholder, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, said first delivery to launch customer, All Nippon Airways (ANA) would move from the 2017 second quarter to “approximately one year later.”
This is the third major delay of first delivery. The original program schedule called for first flight in the second quarter of 2012 and first delivery in the first quarter of 2014. First flight, delayed multiple times, actually occurred only last month.
As recently as last month, Mitsubishi Aircraft President, Hiromichi Morimoto said first delivery to (ANA) was on track for the 2017 second quarter. (ANA) called the latest delay “disappointing,” but added that it remains “confident of the benefits the (MRJ) will bring to the (ANA) fleet.”
“The first flight and the subsequent flight tests have confirmed the basic characteristics to be satisfactory,” Mitsubishi Aircraft said in a December 24 statement. “However, we also have recognized several issues as we attempt to accelerate our development. In order to tackle these issues we have reviewed and revised our overall schedule.”
The precise nature of the issues was not revealed. However, as a result of static tests, strengthening of the airframe and upgrading, the aircraft’s software are already underway.
“Specifically, in the progress of our engineering work, together with experts in the USA, we have made additions to and revisions of test items in order to complete a better-integrated aircraft,” Mitsubishi Aircraft said. “These have been reflected in the new delivery schedule. In addition, we have undertaken an overall review with our partners, and reflected this in our development schedule.”
A diagram released at the press conference showed considerably extended flight-test periods in both Japan and the USA, where four of the five flight test aircraft are slated to move after initial flying in Japan. All five flight test aircraft are MRJ90s. Testing in the USA, initially slated to start in the 2016 second quarter, has now been delayed until roughly the end of 2016.
“Looking ahead, we will be managing our milestones, and increasing the precision of our schedule as we progress,” Mitsubishi Aircraft said. “We will also carry out the flight test campaign in North America as soon as feasible and assign the roles and responsibilities of the three engineering bases (Mitsubishi Aircraft Headquarters, Seattle Engineering Center, and Moses-Lake [Washington state] Test Center) for prompt execution in all fields. We remain firmly committed to providing our customers with better-integrated aircraft with higher levels of safety and reliability, as well as high-quality services.”
News Item A-3: "(MRJ) Delay is Even Worse News Than it Appears" by (ATW) Aaron Karp in AirKarp Blog, December 24, 2015.
The first delivery of the Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ) is now scheduled to occur around the same time as the first delivery of Embraer’s first EMB-Jet E2. That’s bad news for Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation (MRJ), which has just pushed the (MRJ)’s first delivery to launch operator All Nippon Airways (ANA) to “approximately” the 2018 second quarter, or more than >4 years later than the first delivery was supposed to occur. That means the EMB-190-E2, which Embraer (EMB) plans to roll out in February, will soon catch up with the (MRJ)’s timeline.
If you’re an airline looking for a next-generation regional jet powered by Pratt & Whitney (PRW) geared turbofan engines, why would you choose the repeatedly delayed (MRJ) over the E2, which is based on a platform that has successfully been in service for more than a decade? The answer used to be that you could get the (MRJ) years earlier, but that is no longer the case. And who would be surprised at this point if the E2 actually beats the (MRJ) into service?
I’m afraid the news may be even worse than that for Mitsubishi Aircraft (MRJ). All five aircraft slated to be in the (MRJ) flight test program are MRJ90s, but it increasingly looks like that’s the wrong size aircraft for what the market is demanding. I’ve written extensively about the scope clause problems the MRJ90 could have in the USA regional airline market. There could be a bit of a reprieve, though, because USA major airlines (including United Airlines (UAL) and Delta Air Lines (DAL)) are now signaling an interest in putting 100-seat size aircraft into mainline service. But that’s 100 seats including domestic first (F) class and premium economy (PY) seats.
The MRJ90 is designed to seat 92Y passengers in an all-economy layout with 29 inch pitch seats. That would mean airlines like (UAL) and (DAL) would want a stretch version, the MRJ100, which is something Mitsubishi Aircraft (MRJ) executives have talked a lot about, but they have never committed to it. The MRJ100 would theoretically be a competitor to the Bombardier CS100.
The smaller MRJ70, which would meet USA scope clause weight requirements, has always been planned to enter service a year after the MRJ90’s service entry. So if the MRJ90 is now entering service in 2018, then the MRJ70 would be in line for a 2019 service entry. And the MRJ100? 2020 at the earliest?
It should be noted, however, that there’s no evidence Mitsubishi Aircraft (MRJ) has started building the first MRJ70. When asked directly at a 2015 Paris Air Show press conference by Low-Fare & Regional Airlines editor, Bernie Baldwin, whether the first metal cut had been made for the MRJ70, Mitsubishi Aircraft (MRJ) executives literally had no answer. (Bernie, I think, is the only journalist who has sat through as many (MRJ) briefings as I have.)
So all of the eggs are now in the MRJ90’s basket. The MRJ90 achieved first flight in November three-and-a-half years behind schedule and then, after just three test flights, the flight test schedule was considerably slowed down and first delivery was delayed by another year. And it may end up being the least-ideally sized of the three (MRJ) variants!
So the delay announced December 24, as bad as it appears, actually is worse than it appears, because it effectively pushes back the MRJ70 and MRJ100 to 2019 and 2020, respectively, and that’s in a best-case scenario from here on. The 100-seat size aircraft market looks more and more like a sweet spot, one in which an MRJ100 should be a contender. But no airline making a 100-seat size aircraft decision in the near future would even consider the MRJ, given the new delay, the EMB-190-E2 rolling out and the CSeries now certified.
Sorry to deliver bad tidings on Christmas Eve. But that’s how I see it.
News Item A-4: Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation said it has delayed delivery of its first MRJ90 by twelve months to allow for several upgrades and improvements to be made to the aircraft's design following its maiden flight last month.
As such, launch operator (ANA) - All Nippon Airways will only take delivery of its maiden aircraft of the type in mid-2018 as opposed to mid-2017 as originally anticipated. "The first flight and the subsequent flight tests have confirmed the basic characteristics to be satisfactory. However, we also have recognized several issues as we attempt to accelerate our development," (MRJ) said.
Nobuo Kishi, Senior Executive VP of Mitsubishi Aircraft, told the "Nikkei Asian Review" during a press conference that the delays pertain to the reinforcement of the wing superstructure to Japanese certification standards, the redesigning of the aircraft's wheels and landing gear for improved safety, and added testing and improvements to the aircraft's flight control system and software.
The MRJ family consists of the 90-seater MRJ90 and the smaller 70-seater MRJ70. The aircraft has thus far garnered orders for 223 MRJ90s with options for an additional 184 airframes. Tentative operators include All Nippon Airways (ANA), JAL - Japan Airlines (JAL)/(JAS), Eastern Air Lines (EAL), Air Mandalay (6T, Yangon), Trans States Holdings, and SkyWest Airlines (USA) (OO, Salt Lake City).
News Item A-5: Mitsubishi Aircraft (MRJ) announced the retirement of Craig Savio, Deputy Head of Customer Support.
February 2016: News Item A-1: "Aerolease Aviation Ssigns (LOI) for 10 Mitsubishi Regional Jets" by (ATW) Aaron Karp, February 16, 2016.
Aerolease Aviation, a Florida-based lessor with a portfolio of 40 used Boeing 757s, signed a letter of intent (LOI) for 10 Mitsubishi Regional Jets (MRJ) plus 10 options.
Aerolease becomes the first lessor to commit to the MRJ. “We firmly believe that the asset value of the MRJ has now been recognized in the aircraft finance market,” Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation President, Hiromichi Morimoto said at the Singapore Airshow.
The 10 MRJ90s are slated to start delivering to Aerolease in 2018. Mitsubishi Aircraft expects the (LOI) to be turned into a definitive agreement “in the next month or so,” VP & General Manager Sales & Marketing, Yugo Fukuhara said.
The MRJ’s entry into service was pushed back to mid-2018 in December, the latest in a series of program delays. Service entry was originally slated for 2014. “Obviously [the delays] concern us,” Jep Thornton, a partner in Aerolease, said. “We’re realistic. It’s a new aircraft with new engines and those aircraft have delays. It happened with the 787. We’re confident that [Mitsubishi Aircraft (MRJ)] will be able to manage this.”
Morimoto said the new MRJ flight test schedule announced in December, which will include moving four flight test aircraft to the USA starting this summer, “incorporates all of the risks and challenges we can foresee, so I don’t think the aircraft will be postponed again.”
Mitsubishi Aircraft has 223 firm orders for the MRJ from six airlines, including launch customer All Nippon Airways (ANA).
Thornton said Aerolease has had “a lot of discussion with a number of airlines” about placing the MRJ, adding that the company is interested in placing the aircraft with non-major airlines, citing Africa as a potential MRJ market. “We’re not here to lease airplanes to (ANA),” he said. “We’re here to expand the user base for Mitsubishi Aircraft (MRJ).”
News Item A-2: Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation announced it has resumed flight tests of the (FTA-1) for the Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ) on February 10.
March 2016: Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation (MRJ) has named Peter Turner as Deputy Head of Customer Support Division.
April 2016: Airlines’ pilot scope clauses remain the biggest impediment to the (MRJ) succeeding in the USa regional jet market, Mitsubishi Aircraft USA (CEO), Masao Yamagami said.
October 2016: News Item A-1: "Third MRJ Takes Flight; (ANA) Warned it on Further Technical Delay" by (ATW) Victoria Moores email@example.com, October 5, 2016.
Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation (MRJ) has confirmed it is in talks with launch customer All Nippon Airways (ANA) over a further technical delay, although it insists no decision has been made.
On October 3, (MRJ) issued a statement rejecting reports the Regional Jet (MRJ) program has been delayed again.
However, on October 5, an (MRJ) spokeswoman said: “It is true that we have spoken to them [launch customer Airways (ANA)] of a risk of delay due to a technical reason.” She repeated the earlier position that no decision has been made to change the delivery schedule.
In December 2015, Mitsubishi announced the 1st delivery to (ANA) was delayed to mid-2018. (ANA) has 15 airplanes on order and 10 options. The 1st delivery was originally scheduled for the 1st quarter of 2014.
The MRJ90 performed its 1st flight in November 2015 and was joined by (FTA)-2 in May.
In a newsletter issued October 5, Mitsubishi (MRJ) revealed its 3rd test aircraft (JA24MJ) performed its 1st flight on September 25.
News Item A-2: Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation (MRJ) has started MRJ90 flight testing in the USA.
(MRJ), which plans to bring 4 of 5 MRJ flight test aircraft to the USA, said its 1st flight test aircraft (FTA-1) took off at 1:20 pm local time on October 17 from Grant County International Airport in Moses Lake, Washington, where its USA flight test program is based.
The aircraft flew for 3 hours 18 minutes before returning to the airport.
News Item A-3: Mitsubishi Heavy Industries America appointed Kiyoshi Okazoe as President.
November 2016: A 2nd MRJ test aircraft (FTA-4) from Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation has arrived at the airframer's USA test facility in Moses Lake after a 14,000 km journey.
(FTA-4) took off from Nagoya Airfield at 9:35 am local time on November 15 and arrived at Grant County International Airport in Washington, USA at 6:46 am local time on November 19, said Mitsubishi Aircraft (MRJ). During the journey, the aircraft, Registration (JA24MJ), made stops at Guam International Airport, Majuro International Airport in the Marshall Islands, Honolulu International Airport and San Jose International Airport.
Mitsubishi Aircraft (MRJ) is scheduled to carry out frequent, multiple flight tests in the USA to accelerate the development of the (MRJ) toward type certificate acquisition in 2018.
The 4th Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation MRJ90 flight test aircraft made its 1st flight in Japan Nov. 22. According to Mitsubishi Aircraft, the aircraft flew for 2 hours and 4 minutes after taking off from Nagoya Airfield at 10:18 am local time.
2 MRJ90 flight test aircraft have already been transferred to the USA, where Mitsubishi Aircraft is conducting the majority of flight testing toward the regional jet’s certification. +2 more MRJ90s are expected to be transferred to Mitsubishi Aircraft’s USA flight testing base at Grant County International Airport in Moses Lake, Washington, by the end of 2016.
Mitsubishi Aircraft is planning an expedited flight test program at Moses Lake in an effort to achieve the 1st delivery of the MRJ90 to launch customer All Nippon Airways (ANA) in the 2nd half of 2018.
A 5th MRJ90 flight test aircraft will remain in Japan. In total, Mitsubishi Aircraft plans to conduct 2,500 hours of flight testing with the 5 MRJ90 aircraft. So far, it has conducted about 250 hours of flight testing.
Mitsubishi Aircraft expects to achieve the 1st flight of the MRJ70, the smaller variant in the MRJ program, in the 2nd half of 2017.
December 2016: A 3rd Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation MRJ90 flight test aircraft has arrived in the USA, where the majority of MRJ90 flight testing is taking place. The aircraft took off from Nagoya, Japan December 14 and (after stops in Guam, the Marshall Islands, Honolulu and San Jose, California) arrived December 19 at Grant County International Airport in Moses Lake, Washington, from where the MRJ90 flight test program in the USA is based. Total flight distance was 14,000 km and total flight time was 20 hours and 10 minutes.
One more MRJ90 flight test aircraft is expected to arrive in the USA soon. The 4 USA-based MRJ90 aircraft will be utilized in an expedited flight testing program. Mitsubishi Aircraft is aiming to certify the MRJ90 in the 1st half of 2018 and deliver an MRJ90 to launch customer All Nippon Airways (ANA) for entry into service in the 2nd half of 2018.
A 5th MRJ90 flight test aircraft will remain in Japan. In total, Mitsubishi Aircraft plans 2,500 hours of flight testing to gain certification.
January 2017: Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation (MRJ) is expected to announce a further delay to the Mitsubishi Regional Jet program on January 23. Japanese newspaper "The Nikkei" reported that Mitsubishi Aircraft parent, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries has confirmed the delay of 1st delivery of the MRJ90 to Japan’s All Nippon Airways (ANA) to mid-2020. Mitsubishi Aircraft (MRJ) has called a press conference for January 23 to provide an MRJ program update. A spokesperson said Mitsubishi Aircraft (MRJ) would not be providing any details until the press conference.
(MRJ) had been officially targeting 1st delivery to (ANA) by mid-2018, though Mitsubishi Aircraft executives had talked in recent months about achieving 1st delivery by the end of 2018. (MRJ) America Chairman & (CEO) Masao Yamagami said in November that it would be “challenging” to achieve 1st delivery in 2018.
The 1st delivery of the 1st Japanese-produced commercial aircraft since the (NAMC) YS-11 turboprop was originally targeted for the 1st quarter of 2014. But the (MRJ) program has been delayed numerous times, with 1st flight not occurring until November 2015, >3 years late.
4 MRJ90 flight test aircraft have flown, and 3 have been transferred to the USA, where the majority of (MRJ) flight testing is occurring. A 4th flight test aircraft is slated to join the other 3 aircraft at Grant County International Airport in Moses Lake, Washington state, where USA (MRJ) flight testing is based. A 5th flight test aircraft will remain in Japan.
Speaking to (ATW) in November, Yamagami noted that it has been 50 years since the (NAMC) YS-11 was certified. “This process is completely different than 50 years ago,” he said. “At the time, aerodynamics was the most important issue. But now it is software. This is a fly-by-wire aircraft. It is similar to detecting a computer bug. [The challenge for the MRJ program is determining] how to delete those bugs as quickly as possible. Or do we find something more serious and have to make changes to the software?”
September 2017: The MRJ90 flight test program is back on track following a temporary suspension spurred by an unscheduled engine shutdown during a test flight, according to Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation (MRJ). The investigation into the cause of the shutdown of the Pratt & Whitney (PRW) PW1200G geared turbofan (GTF) engine is still ongoing. “The engine issue rests with Pratt & Whitney (PRW),” Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation (MRJ) America VP Marketing Gordon Preston told.