The first of four Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ) airplanes arrived Wednesday afternoon at Moses Lake, where the Japanese company will conduct flight tests. Seattle-based AeroTEC will support flight test and certification.
The first of four Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ) airplanes arrived Wednesday afternoon at Moses Lake, where over the next year to 18 months the Japanese company will conduct flight tests ahead of first delivery in mid-2018.
The 88-seat MRJ90 jet landed safely at 5:47 p.m. after hopscotching since Sunday from Japan, with stops in Russia and Alaska.
The plane’s arrival was delayed about a month after two previous ferry flights from Japan in late August were abandoned when a malfunction was detected in sensors monitoring the systems that control cabin air pressurization and temperature control.
Mitusbishi Aircraft Company spokeswoman Miho Takahashi said “the aircraft operated properly in flight” and declined to provide details on how that issue was overcome.
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The jets are coming to the U.S. for flight tests in part because Japan’s air space is too congested. Mitsubishi chose the Pacific Northwest because of the engineering support available here for the intense certification process.
In Seattle, about 100 employees of local engineering firm AeroTEC and 50 Mitsubishi employees transfered from Japan will support flight test and certification.
At Moses Lake, another 250 people, including about 50 local hires, will work directly on the airplanes.
The MRJ made its initial flight in Nov. 2015. The program is Japan’s first effort in decades to produce a complete commercial aircraft.