NBAA Convention News

MU-2 support remains strong

 - October 13, 2010, 8:21 AM

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries America’s (MHIA) Aviation Product Support Division provides support for some 400 MU-2 twin turboprop aircraft operating outside Japan, including around 300 in North America. Here at the NBAA show, Turbine Aircraft Services, an independent company that contracts with MHIA to provide MU-2 parts and technical support, is exhibiting at Booth No. 6043.

The MHIA Aviation Product Support Division has a new general manager with the recent appointment of Sin-Ichiro (Stan) Yokoi. After 24 years with the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries group, he is taking over from Nobuhito (Noel) Takayama, who has retired. Yokoi will be based at the division offices in Addison, Tex., where Ralph Sorrells continues as deputy general manager and where the Turbine Aircraft Services support organization is headquartered.

Takayama could prove to be a tough act to follow, with MHIA once again hailing its success in the annual AIN Product Support Survey. In the recently published 2010 survey, the MU-2 achieved the highest rating of all classes of aircraft (8.90) and, more significantly, led the support rankings in the older turboprop category for the third consecutive year.

Another way in which MHIA supports MU-2 operators is through its free biennial Pilots Review of Proficiency (PROP) program. This is a series of two-day safety seminars that this year were staged in Orlando, Dallas and Scottsdale, Ariz., with attendees rating the 2010 event as the best-ever.

In addition to general technical issues, the topics covered by the PROP sessions including accident analysis, next-generation radar, a review of Special Federal Aviation Regulations (SFAR) ­operational tips and techniques, engine operation, safety management systems and Waas/Laas (wide area- and local area augmentation systems). The seminars also included a so-called “pinch-hitter” course in which the spouses of MU-2 pilots are taught how to land the aircraft if the pilot becomes incapacitated.

MHIA runs the free PROP seminars in conjunction with SimCom Training Centers and Honeywell. SimCom is the official factory-authorized MU-2 training provider. The program is now attuned to match FAA’s new SFAR 108 requirements, which mean that all MU-2 pilots must receive formal training and follow standardized procedures for MU-2 operations. Since SFAR 108 became law three years ago, there has been only one fatal accident in the aircraft, which has been out of production since 1986.