The first Mitsubishi MRJ flight-test airplane landed at Grant County International Airport in Moses Lake, Wash., on the evening of Sept. 28 for the start of its next phase of certification testing following a three-and-a-half-day trip from Japan.
The Japanese airplane maker picked Washington because Japan’s airspace is too crowded for efficient flight testing. A little more than a year ago, the company opened an engineering center in Seattle to support its Moses Lake operation.
In a statement, Masahiro Omura, the Consul General of Japan in Seattle, called Grant County International Airport “a location blessed with a long runway, wide-open airspace, and good weather throughout the year. Testing will also be supported by a wealth of experience and know-how possessed by the state’s aerospace industry and skilled workforce.”
Mitsubishi has received 223 firm orders for its new regional jet, according to a report from the Puget Sound Business Journal.
“For the development of the MRJ, it is very reassuring that we have such a strong relationship with our partner, Washington. The MRJ is really an aircraft “developed and made with United States and Washington state,” said Omura.