By AOPA ePublishing staff
The FAA has finalized safety rules for the Mitsubishi MU-2B twin turboprop airplane, creating new pilot training, experience, and operating requirements.
The good news is that AOPA and the industry got most of what they wanted after the FAA decided to favor training issues over airworthiness action. The final special federal aviation regulation (SFAR) mandates a comprehensive and standardized pilot training program, the use of a standardized checklist, and that operators have a working autopilot on board except in certain circumstances.
Owners must comply with the SFAR within a year, instead of the 180 days the FAA had initially proposed.
The issue stemmed from a spike in accidents during the 2004 to 2005 time frame, two of which happened at Colorado’s Centennial Airport. This led to pressure from the state’s congressional delegation to ground the aircraft.
But after an exhaustive safety review, the FAA found that the airplane was safe and met all the applicable certification requirements. Although it is a challenging airplane to fly and can be a handful in emergencies, the FAA focused on pilot training and maintenance issues to keep the airplanes flying safely.
January 31, 2008