The first Pratt & Whitney GTF™ PW1200G engine assembled in Japan has begun flight testing. The maiden flight of the engine, which powers the upcoming Mitsubishi SpaceJet, was praised by the Japanese company as an important milestone for both the aircraft program and the Japanese aerospace industry.
The first PW1200G, assembled in Japan, made its maiden flight in the United States on February 14, 2020. The testing took place at Mitsubishi Aircraft Flight Test Center in Moses Lake; it was installed on the company’s Flight Test Aircraft 1 (FTA1).
The Mitsubishi Aircraft flight test team validated the basic functions of the engine in normal flight. In subsequent flights, the performances of both the engine and the aircraft were confirmed, and the engine has been cleared. It is scheduled to join the flight test fleet in the coming weeks.
In a statement, released on February 27, 2020, Mitsubishi execs praised the achievement as an important milestone for the development of the country’s commercial aviation.
“We are in the process of creating not only aircraft but also the foundation for the commercial aviation industry in Japan,” Mitsubishi Aircraft President Hisakazu Mizutani is cited as saying.
Similarly, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Aero Engines President & CEO Katsuyuki Shimauchi is cited as saying: “[…] In addition to manufacturing complete aircraft like Mitsubishi Aircraft, the ability to assemble aircraft engines in Japan is very important for the growth of the domestic aircraft industry as well as the development of a reliable supply chain needed to support future aircraft.”
The PW1200G engine is an exclusive power plant for the Mitsubishi SpaceJet. The regional jet is being developed by Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation, while the manufacturing of the aircraft is carried out by parent company Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. The latter is also the parent company of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Aero Engines, which according to the company itself, “has one of the two sites that finalize and test its PW1200G engine”.
On February 5, 2020, the delivery of the Mitsubishi SpaceJet was delayed for the sixth time, reportedly due to a redesign of the electrical system, which will require further certifications. Mitsubishi Heavy initially envisioned for its jet to enter the market of regional aircraft in 2013. It should now enter service in late 2021 or 2022.