Fifty years ago, on Sept. 14, 1963, a pair of test pilots for Mitsubishi Heavy Industries pushed the power levers forward and a uniquely designed twin-engine turboprop raced down the runway then lifted into the sky. Powered by two Turbomeca Astazou turboshafts, the XMU-2, as the prototype was named, spawned the production version Garrett 331-powered MU-2 family, of which about 290 are still successfully flying worldwide.
A second Level 5-certified simulator for the Mitsubishi MU-2 twin turboprop has gone into service at SimCom’s Orlando, Fla. training center.
SimCom Training Centers is now offering a week-long maintenance training course for the MU-2 turboprop, to be held at MU-2 service centers in the U.S. twice a year. Two classes have already been held this year, and the next is scheduled for spring 2010 at a location to be determined. Training at the service centers allows instructors to combine classroom sessions with hands-on instruction and demonstrations in the service center.
Any safety expert who wants to improve accident statistics could learn a lot by observing the Mitsubishi MU-2 situation. Since the issuance of the final rule outlining special training regulations for MU-2 pilots, there has been only one accident, and that was nonfatal. This contrasts markedly with the MU-2’s accident history before the enactment of the special FAR (SFAR).
Since the FAA issued the special regulation governing MU-2 pilot proficiency in February, nearly 300 pilots have completed the additional training required to fly the turboprop.
In an unusual move, the FAA has proposed an AD that would require pilots to view a new icing-awareness training video before they could serve as PIC of Mitsubishi MU-2Bs. The requirement would supplement a 1997 AD requiring MU-2B pilots to take an eight-hour training course about flying in icing conditions.
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.
A Mitsubishi MU-2 crashed into a car dealership April 15 at about 3 p.m. near San Juan, Puerto Rico. The sole-occupant pilot and one person on the ground were killed. The twin turboprop, N45BS, was registered to Maxfly Aviation of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and was being operated by Crucian International Airlines.
Turbine Aircraft Services is taking its pilots’ review of proficiency (PROP) seminar series to Europe. The Houston-based company supports the Mitsubishi MU-2 twin turboprops under contract to the Japanese manufacturing giant and has been conducting the highly respected free seminars biennially in the U.S. for the past several years. The one-day seminars will be presented on May 24 in Frankfurt, Germany, and on May 27 in Nykoping, Sweden.
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.
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