Japan’s first domestically made passenger jet lands in US to start flight testing

Mitsubishi Aircraft Corp., the builder of Japan’s first domestically made passenger jet,has announced that its first test aircraft arrived in the US after two aborted attempts last month, ready to start certification testing.

The plane arrived at Grant County International Airport at Moses Lake, Washington, at 5:44pm local time Wednesday (Sept 28) from Anchorage, said Reiko Iechika, a spokeswoman for the manufacturer.The regional jet, which has a range of about 2,120km, left Nagoya airport at 1.28pm Monday Japan Standard Time and flew by way of Russia and Alaska.

Mitsubishi Aircraft, a subsidiary of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd., plans to fly three more jets this year to the US, where the plane-maker will complete 2,500 hours of flying time so it can apply for certification. The arrival of the aircraft may help boost Japan’s efforts to break the regional-jet duopoly of Brazil’s Embraer SA and Canada’s Bombardier Inc.

 The jet, which made its first flight in November, aborted two attempted flights to the US in August after problems with air-conditioning sensors. The larger version of the plane, which can seat as many as 92 people, costs US$47.3 million (S$64.5 million). About 30 per cent of its parts are from Japan, with the other 70 per cent from countries including the US, Canada, France, Britain, Germany and Taiwan on a price basis, according to Tokyo-based spokesman Miho Takahashi.

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