On Nov. 11, a major milestone in Japanese aviation was reached as Mitsubishi Aircraft Corp. (MITAC) and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. conducted their maiden flight of the all-new Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ), Japan’s first-ever commercial jet with seating for 70
to 90 passengers. The successful one-and-a-half-hour test flight out of Nagoya Airport confirmed basic characteristics and functionality with maneuvers off Japan’s Pacific Coast.
According to Masahiro Omura, consul general of Japan in Seattle, the MRJ “will be a game-changer” for the short-haul commercial air travel market around the world by offering many revolutionary features to increase operational efficiency and passenger comfort.
The significance of Wednesday’s first flight is being felt on this side of the Pacific, as well, where U.S. airline customers are responsible for a majority of MRJ orders. Additionally, Washington’s aerospace industry is supplying many of the parts for the jet and Grant County International Airport in Moses Lake will serve as the base for U.S. flight testing scheduled to start in the second quarter of 2016. MITAC and its partner AeroTEC opened the Seattle Engineering Center in July to provide technical support for U.S. certification and flight testing activities. MRJ is expected to start its first delivery in 2017.
It has been said that Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner has been made with contributions by Japan and now the MRJ “is being developed and made with the State of Washington and the U.S.,” according to an MITAC official.
The MRJ is seen as symbolic of the growing aviation partnership between our two countries, being supported right here in Washington State. (end)