[Aviation Today May 7, 2014] Mitsubishi Aircraft is preparing its first ground test aircraft for static strength testing, as the Japanese airframe manufacturer works toward its goal of making its first Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ) flight in 2015.
The MRJ emerged for static strength testing in Japan. Photos, courtesy of Mitsubishi.
MSN 90001, the first ground test aircraft, rolled out of the company's final-assembly factory in Nishikasugai District, Japan and has been transferred to a strength test station nearby. Mitsubishi released images showing a nearly complete airframe, lacking only a horizontal stabilizer as well as unoccupied engine pylons under both wings.
Static strength testing is scheduled to begin in the summer of 2014, Mitsubishi says. The airframe testing will be conducted in the presence of Japan's Civil Aviation Bureau, as it is required to achieve type and airworthiness certifications.
There will be a total of seven test aircraft used to achieve certification of the MRJ regional aircraft, five used for flight testing and another two for airframe static strength and fatigue tests. In April, Mitsubishi also made progress with its first flight test aircraft, the MSN10001, as the right wing and tail cone section have been delivered to its Komaki final assembly factory.
Mitsubishi is targeting the entry into service of the MRJ in early 2017, more than three years later than the initial target announced when the program was launched in 2008.