FAA Finalizes Mandatory MU-2 Training SFAR

 - January 29, 2008, 11:02 AM

Yesterday, the FAA issued the final version of MU-2 Special FAR (SFAR) 108, which requires mandatory training for all Mitsubishi MU-2 pilots. This is only the second time that the FAA has enacted a mandatory training rule; the first was SFAR 73 on the Robinson R22 helicopter (it also applies to the R44), issued in the mid-1990s. SFAR 108 requirements include mandatory training for new MU-2 pilots, mandatory recurrent training and a requirement that pilots use the Mitsubishi standardized cockpit checklist and latest revision of the AFM. A working autopilot is also required for nearly all single-pilot flights. Compliance with SFAR 108 must take place within a year, although Part 135 operators have had to comply since an FAA flight standardization board completed flight-testing of the MU-2 twin turboprop and issued a report in January 2006. Since then, there have been no accidents in MU-2s flown by commercial operators. Three fatal Part 91 MU-2 accidents occurred in 2006, but there have been none since then. The mandatory training is available at SimCom in Orlando, Fla.; Howell Enterprises in Smyrna, Tenn.; and Professional Flight Training in Salina, Kan. Mitsubishi Heavy Industries America, which for many years has asked the FAA to tighten MU-2 training standards and issue a type rating, urges “early compliance by MU-2 pilots with the new rules. Safety has always been our priority through this entire process.”