February 3, 2009

Here is a demo IFR flight from KSAT to KMAF on a Mitsubishi MU-2. The Mitsubishi MU-2 is one of postwar Japan’s most successful aircraft. It is a high-wing, twin-engine turboprop, and has a pressurized cabin.

General characteristics

Crew: 1 or 2 pilots
Capacity: 7 passengers
Length: 10.13 m (33 ft 3 in)
Wingspan: 11.94 m (39 ft 2 in)
Height: 3.94 m (12 ft 11 in)
Wing area: 16.5 m² (178 ft²)
Empty weight: 2,422 kg (5,340 lb)
Max takeoff weight: 4,050 kg (8,930 lb)
Powerplant: 2× Garrett TPE331-25A turboprops, 430 kW (575 shp each) each

Maximum speed: 500 km/h (313 mph)
Range: 1,930 km (1,206 mi)
Service ceiling m (ft)
Rate of climb: 331 m/min (1,086 ft/min)
Wing loading: 245 kg/m² (50.1 lb/ft²)
Power/mass: 0.106 kW/kg (0.129 hp/lb)

Like all aircraft, the safety record of the MU-2 has been examined by government agencies and found to be acceptable when compared to other aircraft in its class; it was involved in 11 accidents with a total of 12 fatalities in a single 18 month period. Also, as reported by CNBC, there have been a total of 330 fatalities from MU-2 crashes.[5] However, there have been years where the MU-2 had no accidents at all. As of October 2005, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has begun a safety evaluation of the aircraft and decided that the aircraft has met its certification requirements – it is safe when operated by properly trained pilots who operate properly maintained aircraft. The FAA is in the process of mandating training specific to the MU-2 as it has in the past for other aircraft. When such mandated training was required outside of the U.S. the MU-2 accident record was vastly improved.

Because the MU-2 offers very high performance at a relatively low cost, some of its operators lack sufficient training and experience for such an advanced aircraft.

From an FAA press release:

The FAA began an aggressive safety evaluation in July 2005. The evaluation is performing a detailed review of accidents, incidents, airworthiness directives, service difficulty reports, safety recommendations and safety reports. It also is examining pilot training requirements, the history of the aircraft’s commercial operators and possible engine problems. The goal is to identify the root causes of MU-2 accidents and incidents and determine what, if any, additional safety actions are needed.
In early 2008 the FAA issued a Special Federal Air Regulation (SFAR) directed at MU-2B operations. Pilots flying this aircraft after that date (current MU-2 pilots would have a year to come into compliance) were required to receive type-specific initial training, as well as recurrent training. It also required that a fully-functional autopilot be available for single-pilot operations, and that FAA-approved checklists and operating manuals be onboard at all times. Also unusual for this SFAR, pilot experience in other aircraft types cannot be used to comply with MU-2 operational requirements – for instance, the requirement to perform landings within the preceding 90 calendar days before carrying passengers is altered by this SFAR to require those landings be made in the MU-2.[6]

There is no regulatory relationship between the SFAR requirements and a Type Rating, however both have completion standards located in the practical test standards. The SFAR requires specific training, currency, and operational requirements. Upon completion of the training requirements the instructor places an endorsement in the pilot’s logbook if the instructor feels that the pilot has met the completions standards outlined in the commercial and instrument PTS. If not, training continues until the pilot meets the minimum standards. In comparison, an FAA Type Rating requires the pilot to complete qualified training followed by a checkride and oral examination by an FAA designated examiner. During a Type Rating checkride the pilot must perform all portions of the ride to a mimimum of the ATP practical test standards (regardless of the category of airman certificate held). A Type Rating becomes part of the pilot’s airman certificate.

In 2000 over 500 MU-2s were in use as corporate transports (mainly in the USA), while many have been converted as freighters.

Today, this twin engine aircraft is still seen flying in todays skies and has proven itself to be a very safe and reliable business transport.

Duration : 0:7:58

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Aero-TV: Learning The Truth About The MU-2 SFAR

October 22, 2008

Let’s Talk About The MU-2 With An Expert… ANN has always found the controversy over the airworthiness of the MU-2 an argument of political hype over reality. Much maligned over a number of highly visible accidents (often hyped by some politicos with an aviation-ignorant agenda), the truth of the matter is that the MU-2 is a of an airplane… and PROPERLY trained and flown, this is a serious working airplane. To separate the “Bravo Sierra” from the reality of the matter, ANN and Aero-TV interviewed and flew with MU-2 expert Pat Cannon to detail the TRUE nature of this airplane and the community that has grown around it… especially in light of the recent SFAR actions. After receiving numerous comments from both private and commercial operators of the Mitsubishi MU-2 turboprop — as well as owner representatives, and the plane’s manufacturer — the FAA has gone forward with its call for a Special Federal Aviation Regulation (SFAR) calling for new pilot training, experience, and operating requirements for the speedy aircraft. The final rule mandates a comprehensive standardized pilot training program for the MU-2. The regulation requires use of a standardized pit checklist and the latest revision of the Airplane Flight Manual. MU-2 operators also must have a working autopilot onboard except in certain limited circumstances. Owners and operators must comply with the SFAR within a year. The FAA’s requirements follow an increased accident and incident rate in the MU-b over the past four years, and are based on a safety evaluation of the MU-2 conducted by the agency since July 2005. This SFAR mandates additional training, experience, and operating requirements to improve the level of operational safety for the MU-2. “The FAA studies enormous amounts of data looking for trends,” said FAA ociate Administrator for Aviation Safety Nick Sabatini. “When we saw the rising accident rate for the MU-2, we decided to take appropriate actions to bring the plane up to an acceptable level of safety.” In its …

Duration : 0:8:22

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