After two back to back bungled flights to ferry their test aircraft to the Moses Lake facility, Mitsubishi seems to have started to wring out the issues that plagued their ferry flights. The test aircraft is flying again.
A test MRJ on a flight from Nagoya to Moses Lake in late August turned back after an system warning shortly after takeoff, indicating an air-conditioning malfunction. The next day it happened again, requiring another return to Nagoya. The events were embarrassing as US media had been invited to Moses Lake for a visit – hopefully to be surprised to see the aircraft on site.
Faulty sensors are thought to have caused the problem, and have been replaced. Another attempt to fly across the Pacific at the end of September is being planned. Flight clearances are needed from Russia, where the aircraft will do a tech stop. Mitsubishi needs to move rather quickly, as favorable weather conditions are required and fall is approaching. It gets cold and nasty early on that far north.
The plan is to base four MRJ test vehicles at Moses Lake. Ideally all test aircraft will be transferred before the year end. Moses Lake offers Mitsubishi better flight test conditions plus it is close to any support required by Boeing. The program requires 2,500 test flight hours and has the goal of obtaining FAA certification.
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