After a 26-year relationship with FlightSafety International, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries America (MHIA) announced at last month’s NBAA Convention that it will shift MU-2 training to SimCom Training Centers in Orlando, Fla., initially using existing former FSI simulators. SimCom expects to have the simulators on line this spring and will develop two new state-of-the-art MU-2 flight-training devices over the next two years, the first of which is scheduled to be operational by the end of this year.
Pan Am International Flight Academy subsidiary SimCom will coordinate its activities with MHIA’s service provider, Turbine Aircraft Services (TAS) of Addison, Texas, which provides support to MU-2 service centers, including parts distribution, training and organization of safety seminars. Besides installing new training equipment, SimCom will be producing a new training manual, checklist and classroom presentation. It will also cosponsor (with MHIA and TAS) the MU-2 safety program, Pilot’s Review of Proficiency (PROP).
The PROP meetings are informal fact-sharing sessions to discuss different flight and operations experiences of MU-2 owners and operators. TAS reported that with more than 400 MU-2s still in service, at least 250 operators have been represented by one or more people at the meetings, which began in 1994 (see box below for 2002 gatherings).
Though the MU-2 is no longer in production, MHIA has agreed to continue to build parts in support of the aircraft and to offer new parts such as a new shoulder harness with a four-way release mechanism. MHIA announced at the NBAA show that Pacific Scientific Company of Duarte, Calif., is developing the system, which will be available in the third quarter of this year. “The new design allows for easy installation and can be installed in any MU-2,” said Noel Takayama, MHIA general manager. “A four-point restraint system is a real benefit to pilots, giving them more stability when flying in turbulence. A pilot-activated locking mechanism provides extra security during takeoff and landing.”
MHIA also appointed two new MU-2 service centers: Winner Aviation at Youngstown-Warren (Ohio) Regional Airport and Nashville Jet Center at Nashville (Tenn.) International Airport. The appointments bring the number of U.S.-based
MU-2 service centers to five.