The Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ) program passed an important milestone with the developmental aircraft’s “iron bird” rig beginning testing on aircraft systems.
The MRJ’s iron bird rig is used to test flight deck, hydraulic and flight control equipment, and as well the software to be used aboard the MRJ. The testing rig is located at Mitsubishi Heavy Industries’ Oye factility in Nagoya, where testing and development of the MRJ is continuing.
The iron bird tests will continue over the next three years. Mitsubishi Aircraft has also indicated that the 90-seat MRJ90 is due to conduct its first flight test in the second quarter of 2012.
Three customers have announced plans to buy the MRJ. Japan’s All Nippon Airways (ANA) has a firm order for 15 aircraft and 10 options, and US firm Trans States Holdings has a firm order for 50 aircraft and an option for 50 more. In June of 2011, Hong Kong-based leasing firm ANI Group Holdings signed a memorandum of understanding to buy five MRJs.