Mentoring, where a more experienced pilot flies for some time with a new very light jet buyer until the owner gains confidence and experience, is receiving increasing scrutiny and consideration from aircraft manufacturers, insurance companies and operators.
Denying it is re-evaluating safety aspects of the Mitsubishi MU-2 in response to requests by several Colorado legislators, the FAA said its investigation is the result of a “recent increase in the accident rate” of the turboprop twin. The latest accident, which killed the sole-occupant pilot, occurred on August 4 while the aircraft was on an IFR approach to Centennial Airport, Colo.
“The MU-2B turboprop does not need yet another certification review,” according to AOPA. Reacting to congressional pressure, the FAA is “rushing to fix a problem that has not even been quantified.” The issue stems from two recent accidents involving MU-2Bs at Denver Centennial Airport. That led to a demand from Colorado lawmakers that the FAA investigate the safety of the twin turboprop.
Mitsubishi garnered top bragging rights in the most recent AIN product-support survey, and the biennial pilots’ review of proficiency (PROP) seminar series is one good reason why. How many manufacturers sponsor regular owner/operator safety seminars–let alone doing so for aircraft that went out of production almost two decades ago?
Addison, Texas-based Mitsubishi Heavy Industries America, which services the more than 400 MU-2s operating outside of Japan, expressed its approval and cooperation with the FAA’s safety evaluation of the twin turboprop. Further, the company has contracted former NTSB investigator Greg Feith to assist in the review.
The FAA received a fair number of comprehensive comments during the 30-day comment period for the proposed special regulations (SFAR) that will mandate type-specific training in the Mitsubishi MU-2. The comment period ended October 30, and 72 comments reside in the agency’s docket.
The NTSB final report on the May 2005 crash of a Mitsubishi MU-2B-25 in Hillsboro, Ore., found several causes, notably mishandling a power loss due to a lack of recent flight experience and recurrent training by the pilot. While flight logs provided by the family showed more than 500 hours operating an MU-2, the pilot’s last flight before the accident flight was 14 years earlier.
More stringent training requirements for pilots of Mitsubishi MU-2Bs will result from an FAA special safety review of the turboprop twin. The review, a portion of which was released today, was initiated last year following a series of MU-2B accidents. For Part 135 operators, the additional requirements will become part of their FAA-approved training syllabus and will be effective shortly.
More stringent training requirements for pilots of Mitsubishi MU-2Bs have been recommended by an FAA Flight Standardization Board (FSB) report, but they stop short of mandating a type rating for the turboprop twin. The report follows a safety review initiated by the agency last year following a series of MU-2B accidents.
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries America (MHIA), the Addison, Texas-based subsidiary of the Japanese company that built the MU-2 turboprop twin, has acquired Intercontinental Jet of Tulsa, Okla. The company, which already provides support for about 50 percent of the 400-strong MU-2 fleet, will become MHIA’s first factory-owned service center. There are also five factory-authorized service facilities in the U.S.