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Pilots need more training to fly MU-2B, FAA says

V-STALL

The Resourcer!
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Pilots need more training to fly MU-2B, FAA says

The plane that crashed in May in Hillsboro is deemed airworthy Federal Aviation Administration investigators on Thursday said the type of turboprop airplane involved in last summer's fatal crash near the Hillsboro Airport is airworthy, but that anyone who pilots it should receive special training. A Mitsubishi MU-2B carrying four people on a dinner trip to Salem slammed into a Hillsboro field seconds after takeoff May 24. All four occupants died in the crash: owner/pilot Mychal McCartney and his wife, Pam, from the Bald Peak area of Yamhill County, and Art and Jean Pogrell of Cedar Mill in Washington County.

The recommendation by the FAA's Flight Standardization Board would require pilots such as McCartney -- an experienced pilot who swapped and sold planes -- to go through specialized training before being allowed to fly the high-performance two-engine craft. Debra Eckrote, National Transportation Safety Board senior air investigator, said last year that McCartney had not received special training in flying the plane. Her investigation of the accident and its potential causes remains incomplete.

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries built 703 MU-2s from 1963 to 1986. Of those, 189 -- just more than one-fourth -- have been in accidents. Most were minor: planes bumping things on the ground and suffering damaged paint. Industry observers said a series of accidents in the 1970s and 1980s lowered the airplane's selling price. That lower price made the turboprop aircraft attractive to pilots who wanted the performance of a turboprop craft but were unwilling or unable to spend the money for specialized training in how to fly it safely.

May's accident in Hillsboro pushed the number of people killed in Mitsubishi MU-2s to 252, since the plane was first produced. The crash was the 79th fatal accident in the airplane's 42-year history, according to NTSB records. Federal records show four fatal accidents involving the plane in 2004 and three in 2005. The FAA report said the high number of MU-2 accidents in recent years prompted the agency to review its certification of the plane, as well as its maintenance regimen and the training required of those who fly it. "The FAA . . . determined that the airplane meets its original certification basis," the report said. In other words, the agency concluded there was nothing wrong with the plane's design and that it was airworthy.

The FAA added that "the Flight Standardization Board concluded that MU-2B specific training for pilots is needed." Specialized programs are available for the MU-2 at flight schools around the country. NTSB investigator Eckrote said immediately after last summer's crash that the plane's left engine appeared to have failed shortly after takeoff. Engine failure and pilots' lack of training in how to deal with the problem -- especially immediately after takeoff -- have been implicated in other MU-2 crashes. Mitsubishi has long recommended that MU-2 pilots receive special training, said Ralph Sorrells, deputy general manager of the company's aircraft product support division.

"Reading this report, what the FAA is finding is that the airplane flies just fine, if you have good training," Sorrells said Thursday. Company leaders generally agreed with the agency's recommendations and conclusions, said Noel Takayama, general manager of the company's Aircraft Products Support Division. The FAA's Flight Standardization Board recommends that training programs developed by Mitsubishi be adopted as requirements for MU-2 pilots, the report said. Sorrells said that if such a requirement were in place, private owners who didn't want to take the classes wouldn't buy the planes.
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FAA won't ground plane

Specialized training suggested after 11 crashes in two years The Federal Aviation Administration will not ground Mitsubishi's MU-2 aircraft, which have been involved in 11 accidents in the past two years, including two fatal crashes at Centennial Airport in Arapahoe County. "We don't believe there is a safety issue with the airplane itself," said Les Dorr Jr., spokesman for the FAA, on Thursday. "It meets its original certification standards." Instead, the agency recommended that pilots be required to undergo specialized training in flying the high-performance twin-engine turboprop plane and that mechanics get the necessary training in maintaining it.

"We continue to believe that if pilots are properly trained to fly this airplane, this airplane can be flown safely," said Dorr. "We want to make sure the pilot training is standardized and mandatory." On Thursday the FAA released a plan of action as well as the final safety evaluation report of the Mitsubishi MU-2. Mitsubishi officials said Thursday they were still reviewing the report but supported the FAA's recommendations. "Mitsubishi Heavy Industries America supports the report's main finding that MU-2 aircraft operators need to be trained according to the manufacturer's flight manual procedures which have been in place for decades to maintain safety standards," said Scott Sobel, spokesman for Mitsubishi.

He said the company "continues to stand behind the MU-2 aircraft's solid safety record." Last August, U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo, a Littleton Republican, called on the FAA to ground Mitsubishi MU models after the second crash at Centennial Airport. In the first crash, on Dec. 10, 2004, pilot Paul Krysiak, 28, of Aurora, and co-pilot, James T. Presba, 25, of Lonetree, were killed when their MU-2B crashed shortly after takeoff. The plane belonged to Flight Line Inc. of Watkins. On Aug. 4, 2005, another Flight Line pilot, Sam Hunter, of West Valley City, Utah, died when his MU-2B-60 crashed into a ravine as it was approaching Centennial Airport from Salt Lake City.
The two crashes were among 11 in the past two years involving the Mitsubishi MU-2, which resulted in 12 deaths. The National Transportation Safety Board has yet to issue probable cause reports on the two crashes at Centennial.

Tancredo said in a statement Thursday that the recommendation of "additional training for pilots is helpful, but is not a sufficient solution given the MU-2's crash statistics. Grounding the aircraft remains the optimum solution, but this is a good first step for the FAA, who, like a recovering alcoholic, has taken the first step of admitting that there is a problem." According to the FAA, there are 397 Mitsubishi MU-2s registered in the country.
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Say Again Over

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"We continue to believe that if pilots are properly trained to fly this airplane, this airplane can be flown safely,"
AMEN, hope this puts all the speculation to rest. Properly trained pilots don't have a problem with the MU-2.
 

FN FAL

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Say Again Over said:
AMEN, hope this puts all the speculation to rest. Properly trained pilots don't have a problem with the MU-2.

I'm thinking the same thing as with the Caravans and icing situations. Either management is taking safety and training seriously, or they aren't. The culture of safety within an organization originates with management and if they are placing the value of profit over safety, there are going to be dead people and crashed airplanes.
 

LJDRVR

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V-STALL said:
Tancredo said in a statement Thursday that the recommendation of "additional training for pilots is helpful, but is not a sufficient solution given the MU-2's crash statistics. Grounding the aircraft remains the optimum solution, but this is a good first step for the FAA, who, like a recovering alcoholic, has taken the first step of admitting that there is a problem." According to the FAA, there are 397 Mitsubishi MU-2s registered in the country.
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Man, if that guy was my elected representative, i would be so pissed I couldn't see straight. What a moron.
 

ace1000

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On an unrelated note I was at an KBKL in cleveland when a guy loading checks walked into the prop on an MU-2. It was 3 summers ago.
 
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