Mitsubishi provided some images overnight on their MRJ’s first engine run. The program is moving rapidly towards first flight.
We understand that Mitsubishi is facing the same kind of problems other OEMs have been challenged with – namely systems integration. New aircraft have much more complex systems and the integration of these is not an easy task. Especially for an OEM that has not developed an aircraft of its own for a very long time.
We have heard industry rumors that the first flight would go as planned, but that EIS might slip anywhere from one to two years. We contacted the company to ask about this.
Mitsubishi responded as follows: “For EIS, the flight tests which will conduct from April – June, 2015 will be important. There will be something that we found for the first time after the actual flight test, although we verified and evaluated on the desk or on the ground so far. We have to solve the problems which will be come up in the flight tests as soon as possible and also have to make safe aircraft. We are trying to do our best as one team toward EIS in Q2, 2017.”
Clearly, the goal at Mitsubishi is to bring the aircraft in on schedule in 2017. We wish them good flight testing with few surprises. But they will need to address the same challenges that delayed new technology aircraft by Airbus, Boeing and Bombardier in recent years. While it is too early to predict any additional program delays, the challenge remains quite steep.