Mitsubishi MRJ 90 flight test aircraft suffer engine failure

One of the Mitsubishi MRJ 90 regional jet flight test aircraft (FTA) has suffered an mid-air single engine failure on August 21, during a test flight from Moses Lake Airport in Washington, United States.

The second prototype JA22MJ's port Pratt & Whitney’s PW1200G Geared Turbofan engine flamed out and sustained partial damage to the engine core.

Mitsubishi said the engine experienced an uncommanded shut down with out any prior indications to the pilots.

The incident happened at 8:35 AM local time after taking off from Moses Lake at around 6 o'clock and while the aircraft was flying above sea, 170 kilometers east of Portland, Oregon.

The contained engine failure resulted in the aircraft being diverted to the Portland Airport in Oregon.

As a safety precaution, Mitsubishi has grounded the flight test fleet and plans to resume only after determining the cause of the incident.

The incident marks the second engine failure involving the Pratt & Whitney's new generation geared turbofan engine family. In May 2014 a PW1500G engine powering the Bombardier CS100 aircraft suffered an uncontained engine failure during ground testing.

The PW1100G engine that powers the Airbus A320neo is also experiencing teething issues, which has resulted in restricted flight envelope and grounding of the aircraft powered by the engine.

MRJ's PW1200G engine had acquired type certification from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) of United States in May 2017.

The 17,000 pounds thrust engine has accumulated more than 6,000 hours and 15,000 cycles as part of development, certification and flight testing activities.

PW's GTF engines contributes the major share of fuel efficiency increase in new generation jetliners like the MRJ, Bombardier CSeries, Embraer E-Jet E2, Airbus A320neo and the Russian Irkut MC-21.

The engine features an intermediate gear between the Core and Fan, that allow each to rotate in their respective optimum speeds.

Mitsubishi is carrying out majority of the aircraft certification from the Grant County International Airport at Moses Lake, using four of the five FTA.

Design changes have caused numerous delays to the MRJ program, which is the first Japanese commercial airliner design in 50 years. The latest delay caused due to need for relocation of components in avionics bay and rerouting of wiring harness, has pushed the certification to 2019 and first delivery to 2020, a two year delay.

With two variants, the aircraft offer seating capacity between 90 to 70 seats. The first prototype completed maiden flight on November 11, 2015.