Speaking to a gathering of reporters Tuesday at the Regional Airline Association Convention in St. Louis, Mitsubishi Aircraft head of marketing Hideyuki Kamiya reported “good progress” on the now six-year-old Mitsubishi Regional Jet program. Now scheduled for first flight in 2015 and first delivery to Japan’s All Nippon Airways in the second quarter of 2017, the MRJ has progressed to the point where managers expect delivery of the first test aircraft’s initial Pratt & Whitney PW1217G by the end of this month, said Kamiya.
Economy of Japan
Mitsubishi Aircraft executives here at the Singapore Airshow yesterday insisted that the four-times-delayed MRJ program has found its stride, notwithstanding recent concerns expressed by its largest customer, SkyWest of the U.S. During a program update at the Singapore Airshow, Mitsubishi Aircraft (Booth V87) director and head of sales Yugo Fukuhara reported that airframe manufacturer Mitsubishi Heavy Industries will join the wings to the now mostly assembled first fuselage in April, followed by the tail “in a few months.”
Honda Aircraft announced that the FAA issued Type Inspection Authorization (TIA) for the HondaJet, a key milestone in the light jet’s certification program. Now that the jet’s GE Honda Aero HF120 engine is certified and the TIA issued, Honda Aircraft has finalized the certification timetable for the HondaJet.
With the award of FAA certification for the GE Honda Aero Engines HF120 on Friday, “We are finalizing the HondaJet type certification schedule with the FAA based on the engine type certification achievement and will be sharing an update [later] this week,” Honda Aircraft president and CEO Michimasa Fujino told AIN.
Honda Aircraft celebrated the 10-year anniversary of the HondaJet prototype’s first flight on Tuesday. “The proof-of-concept HondaJet first flight was a pinnacle moment,” Honda Aircraft president and CEO Michimasa Fujino told AIN. “Our team had spent years researching and testing the advanced theories and concepts incorporated into the aircraft’s innovative design,” which includes its over-the-wing engine mounting.
Honda Aircraft president and CEO Michimassa Fujino said yesterday at NBAA 2013 that the HondaJet would be certified by the end of 2014, as long as the HF120 engine was certified by the end of this year. Terry Sharp, president of GE Honda Aero Engines, said this timeline is doable–“We have completed all the certification testing on the engine and last week we submitted the final two reports to the FAA. Our confidence is high that we will have the type certificate by the end of this year.”
Engine development drives aircraft development, so it should not be surprising that Honda is forecasting the certification date of its HondaJet based on the date of the certification of its engine, the GE Honda Aero Engines HF120. It’s more complicated than that, of course, but that’s the Cliff Notes version.
Mitsubishi Aircraft’s failure to properly forecast the effects of new U.S. Federal Aviation Administration procedures introduced in 2009 to validate regulatory compliance of production processes led to the latest delay of the MRJ90, according to company executives.
Mitsubishi Aircraft suffered another credibility hit on Wednesday, as the company announced the third major delay to the MRJ regional jet program.
The latest “issue” affecting the Boeing 787 has the manufacturer investigating improper installation of a component associated with its engine fire suppression system. Japan’s All Nippon Airways and Japan Airlines on Wednesday each reported problems with at least one of their 787s that, in ANA’s case, delayed a flight from Tokyo Haneda Airport to Frankfurt for an hour and 42 minutes Wednesday morning.