Mitsubishi Aircraft made two failed attempts to ferry its first MRJ regional jet prototype to the US over the weekend, due to issues with the aircraft’s air management system.
The regional jet first left Nagoya airfield at 11:47 local time on 27 August, but had to return some 63 minutes later.
Mitsubishi says it “came to recognise that the air management system needs to be inspected during the flight”, and hence made the call to return to base.
The Japanese manufacturer tells FlightGlobal it thereafter found an issue with the sensor of the air management system. After the sensor was replaced, “the result was good” during the function test, it adds.
FTA-1 then made a second attempt to head to Mitsubishi’s flight test centre at Moses Lake, Washington, on 28 August. The prototype however again aborted its journey and made a return to Nagoya after about 2h 15min in the air. It landed without incident at 15:13 local time.
Mitsubishi says it made the decision to call off the flight as it “came to recognise that the monitoring function of the air management system needed to be inspected during the flight as [per] yesterday”.
It adds that while a part of the air management system stopped automatically on 27 August due to “trouble with the monitoring function”, the system did not cease to function on 28 August although the manufacturer identified “a similar issue with the same system”.
“We [will] investigate if there were any recognised bugs/failures or if the monitoring function itself had been in trouble,” it tells FlightGlobal.
It will make a decision on when the aircraft can make the ferry flight, based on results from the inspections.
The airframer has been working towards an August timeline to bring FTA-1 to the US, so as to accelerate its flight-test programme and provide a buffer for technical or certification issues that could arise. The original schedule was for a ferry flight in the fourth quarter of the year.
Mitsubishi plans to bring four of its flight test aircraft to the US within 2016. It is targeting certification of the MRJ in early 2018, and to deliver the aircraft to launch customer All Nippon Airways in the middle of the year.