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Mitsubishi delays jet’s maiden flight

Kyodo — The maiden flight of Japan’s first domestically produced small passenger jet will be postponed until November from late October as the pedals in the cockpit need to be improved, its developer said Friday.

The Mitsubishi Regional Jet, developed by Mitsubishi Aircraft Corp., a subsidiary of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd., is the first passenger airliner to be manufactured in Japan since Nihon Aircraft Manufacturing Corp.’s YS-11 turboprop plane was rolled out half a century ago.

Mitsubishi Aircraft said it will put off the maiden flight from the originally scheduled five-day window from Oct. 26 to the week starting Nov. 9, marking the second flight postponement for the aircraft.

The developer had initially been arranging for a maiden flight at the end of May, but postponed it as it reviewed part of the plane’s design.

Mitsubishi Aircraft said it will announce the flight date one day before the flight, after taking weather and other factors into consideration.

The development schedule has so far been postponed four times.

Japan’s largest airline, All Nippon Airways Co., is scheduled to take delivery of the first aircraft between April and June of 2017.

The 35-meter-long aircraft will have 70 to 90 seats and be some 20 percent more fuel efficient than similar-sized jets.

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