https://www.ainonline.com/aviation-news ... gional-jet
Japan’s Mitsubishi Aircraft expects to see flight testing of its delayed MRJ90 regional jet accelerate this summer, as engineers work to complete the design changes that led to the most recent schedule deferral by early autumn.
Speaking with AIN just before the opening of this year’s Paris show, Mitsubishi Aircraft senior executive vice president and executive chief engineer Kishi Nobuo reported that the four flight test vehicles operating out of Moses Lake, Washington, in the U.S. have completed 800 hours of flying, and that, despite the need for the design changes, the program has achieved all of its early objectives. Kishi added that original plans called for a total of some 2,500 hours of flying, and that the need to relocate components and reroute wiring in the airplane’s avionics bay will add few hours to the total.
Mitsubishi now expects to complete most flight testing by the end of 2018, ahead of certification the following year and first delivery to All Nippon Airways in 2020. The new schedule reflects no fewer than five major schedule delays, which together have set back expected certification by some seven years since program launch in 2008.
The need for the design changes that led to the latest two-year delay became apparent after a company engineering review last autumn, when Mitsubishi determined that the original design did not properly account for “extreme situations” such as water leakage or an explosion in the area of the avionics bay.
“Last summer to autumn, we reviewed all the MRJs configurations [at] the aircraft level,” said Kishi. “We decided to change…for example, electrical component location…Frankly speaking, we made a conclusion that it would take less time to do the design change than thinking more about how to prove the safety [of] the previous design to obtain type certification.
“However, these design changes will not affect aircraft performance, fuel consumption, or functionality of systems,” he added. “We will be able to continue ongoing flight testing with the current test aircraft configuration and be able to obtain certification flight test data of performance, flight characteristics, etcetera for the type certificate. The design change will not affect aircraft structure either.”