MITAC put out some news today:
The MRJ is making steady progress in the initial stage of flight testing where one of the goals is to increase the altitude and speed. The highest altitude reached during testing to date has been 35,000ft (approx. 10,500m), and the top speed reached has been Mach 0.65 (250Kt, or approx. 450Km/h).
In March, the MRJ flew over the Sea of Japan for the first time and also flew solo, without an escort craft. The most recent flight tests have involved safety testing, including checks of the ram-air turbine (RAT) operations for emergency electric power generation, and the testing under conditions anticipated to occur if power in one of the engines were to be lost.
In the early morning of March 15, the finally-assembled Fatigue Strength Test Aircraft was transferred to the Test Station. In fatigue strength tests — one of the important ground tests to verify strength of the aircraft — the airframe is subjected to repeated forces anticipated to be exerted during flight including take-off, cruising and landing to assess its durability. As preceding static strength tests are moving forward according to schedule, we are committed to making steady progress in fatigue strength tests as well.
The Final Assembly Hangar, on which construction began in January of last year, has been concluded, and a completion ceremony was held on March 1. The hangar has a floor area of approx. 44,000m2 with a capability of manufacturing up to 10 aircraft on a monthly basis. Facilities will primarily consist of the “structural assembly line” where the main fuselage, wing and tail assemblies are joined, as well as the “outfitting line” where the airframe is fitted out with system parts including engines and cabin interiors. With assembly of delivery aircraft slated to start this fall, preparations for manufacturing will now move forward, including installation of production equipment. Preparations are also moving ahead on facilities that will enable visitors to tour the Hangar.
Although MITAC has been sharing program news on a regular basis, it appears there is steady progress and this time the news is more definitive. The program delays have been no surprise for many, making the recovery process therefore really important. We await more news on program recovery from the delays as well as moves to getting the testing started at Moses Lake.