Mitsubishi’s MRJ gets a museum

Progress towards an aircraft that can be delivered to commercial customers is slow, but Mitsubishi is upping its publicity push. The company will open a museum at its factory in Nagoya, Japan to introduce the MRJ to the public. The facility will welcome visitors beginning on 30 November, with online reservations for access available starting in late October.

The MRJ MUSEUM will be an exhibition space created on the fifth floor (area: approx. 1,150 m2) of the MRJ’s Final Assembly Hangar, a new factory located next to an existing facility at the Komaki South Plant. Here, visitors will see full-size mock-ups of the MRJ’s fuselage, engines, etc., enabling them to get a true sense of the scale new jet. They will also be able to view the MRJ’s actual manufacturing processes on the second floor.

A company rendering of the Mitsubishi MRJ Museum interior
A company rendering of the Mitsubishi MRJ Museum interior

In the display zone devoted to the MRJ’s technical development, a real-size flight deck and passenger cabin will enable visitors to to learn how the new aircraft was designed for operating ease and flying comfort, with Japanese-style design features incorporated throughout. A state-of-the-art video presentation will introduce the cutting-edge technologies adopted in the the MRJ: for example, its aerodynamic design based on basic aircraft principles computational fluid dynamics (CFD), and its next-generation GTF (“Geared Turbofan”) engines offering industry-leading fuel efficiency and emissions noise reduction.

In the zone dedicated to production features, through use of virtual reality and hands-on access to the actual parts and materials used in the MRJ, visitors will gain an appreciation of the aircraft’s superior reliability and safety backed by supreme quality control.

The MRJ program is not what one would generally consider a model of success. The delivery timeline has seen multiple delays and more than a couple unexpected disruptions to the flight test program. The plane is years late, heavier than originally anticipated and still comes up short against the Scope Clause challenges that prevent its use as a regional aircraft for US-based airlines. Historically Mitsubishi has expressed hope that regional carrier restrictions would be lifted but that seems less and less likely, particularly given the pilot staffing challenges at the regional level.

Read More: Did the MRJ Finally Die?

On top of the operational questions Mitsubishi’s MRJ faces a market more focused than ever on the passenger experience, and it does so with a product that is decidedly bland. The mock cabins shown at airshows and conferences of late is functional but not special. That makes it less compelling for an airline to choose compared to the established competitors (Embraer E-Jets/E2 or Bombardier CRJs) or the newer designs of the CSeries.

A decidedly bland interior on the Mistubishi MRJ as shown at the Farnborough International Airshow in 2016
A decidedly bland interior on the Mistubishi MRJ as shown at the Farnborough International Airshow in 2016

Hinting at the delays the aircraft has endured is some of the metadata around the museum launch. The rendering of the interior is dated July 2015. Oopsie.

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.