Mitsubishi Aircraft expects parent company Mitsubishi Heavy Industries to start final assembly of the first MRJ90 in Nagoya, Japan, within “two to three months,” ostensibly in time for its planned maiden flight by year-end. Schedules call for first delivery of the airplane to launch customer All Nippon Airways of Japan by the end of 2015.
NASA started flight testing a prototype data link radio from Rockwell Collins to support the planned introduction of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) in the U.S. National Airspace System.
Eurocopter performed a demonstration flight of an “optionally piloted vehicle” (OPV) version of the EC145 in late April, with the goal of eventually employing any of its models in unmanned operations such as automated surveillance and cargo hauling. Secret flight-testing began two weeks earlier at Istres air force base in France. The project’s coordination team is based at Eurocopter’s research and development center in Donauwörth, Germany, where the first flights, with a monitoring pilot, took place.
Certification testing is under way on the first Passport development engine at GE Aviation’s test facility in Peebles, Ohio. The engine, which will power the Bombardier Global 7000 and 8000, began ground testing on Monday and ran for more than three hours, reaching more than 18,000 pounds of thrust. This first full engine test launches a certification program that will include more than 4,000 ground hours and 8,000 cycles of testing. Certification is expected in 2015. Flight-testing on GE’s flying testbed is scheduled to begin next year.
Bombardier will fail to meet its end-of-June target for first flight of the CSeries, according to a statement issued by the company Wednesday. It now expects first flight to happen by the end of July.
CFM International, the General Electric/Snecma joint venture, expects to begin a second phase of ground testing for its 3-D woven resin transfer molding fan with its Moteur à Aubes de Soufflante en Composite Taille (Mascot) 2 fan-demonstrator engine. The fan is “foundational technology” for the CFM Leap engine that is scheduled to enter service in 2016.
As launch customer Qatar Airways prepares to receive new Airbus A350s next year, the Arab operator will train using an operations department at the manufacturer’s Toulouse factory in southwest France. Until then, Airbus plans to conduct flight-test activities to mirror airlines operations at that facility.
“The HondaJet program is steadily progressing toward certification and first delivery,” Honda Aircraft president and CEO Michimasa Fujino said this week at EBACE. As previously reported, FAA type certification of the light jet has been delayed by a year to late next year, primarily due to delays in certifying its GE Honda Aero HF120 engines. EASA certification is scheduled to follow in mid-2015.
Bombardier has reaffirmed its intention to achieve the first flight of its new CSeries airliner next month, with complete airframe static tests (CAST) on track to establish that flight testing can commence safely.
MD Helicopters’ selection of Selection of Universal Avionics to design and build a next-generation flight deck for the MD Explorer twin-engine helicopter represents a major milestone in the avionics maker’s 32-year history–the company’s first integrated flight deck to be delivered as original equipment from an OEM’s aircraft assembly line–but Universal’s main revenue source will continue to be retrofitting the flight decks of business aircraft, helicopters and