Two Fatal Mishaps In Nine Months Fuel Drive To Keep Mitsubishis
"I am requesting that
you immediately issue a directive to ground all [Mitsubishi
MU-2B-60] aircraft until a thorough and complete investigation into
its air worthiness can be determined."
That demand came in a letter from Congressman Tom Tancredo
(R-CO) to the FAA, August 4th -- the day an Mu-2 went down after
being cleared to approach at Centennial Airport. It was the second
fatal Mu-2B-60 mishap at Centennial in less than nine months.
Other members of Colorado's congressional delegation have also
written FAA Administrator Marion Blakey, demanding the MU-2 be
pulled from service. They include Sen. Ken Salazar (D-CO), Rep. Bob
Beauprez (D-CO), Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO) and Rep. Mark Udall
"We won't hesitate to [order the aircraft grounded] if we have
the data to support it," FAA spokeswoman Alison Duquette told the
Washington Times. She said the aircraft is now being reviewed -- a
process that could take 60 days.
It's the third time the Mitsubishi MU-2's safety record has been
evaluated by the FAA. No changes were made during the first
evaluation, in 1984, following 12 MU-2 crashes that caused 16
deaths between 1983 and 1984. In 1996, the administration required
changes in training procedures to cover issues of aircraft
performance in icing conditions.
Mitsubishi begs to differ with calls to ground the MU-2.
"We've long advocated that pilots get more simulator training,"
he said. "We'd like to have zero accidents. That's what we strive
for. When some of these things happen caused by inadequate
training, it makes me sick. We need to make sure training is
adequate," Ralph Sorrells, deputy general manager for the aircraft
product support division of Addison, Texas-based Mitsubishi Heavy
Industries America told the Times.
"I don't think the [Mitsubishi MU-2B-60] requires the same
commitment that a nun would make to Jesus, but it requires a
commitment," Earl Martin, owner of Houston's Mid-Coast Air Charter,
told the Times. "The [Mitsubishi MU-2B-60] has had a reputation
problem for a long time," Mr. Martin said. "There are some positive
reasons why this airplane compares favorably to other airplanes
like it that I could buy. It's built like a tank."
(Above: MU-2 accident site near BWI Airport, March 14, 2004)
FAA Preliminary Accident Report
Make/Model: MU2 Description:
MU-2, Marquise, Solitaire (LR-1)
Date: 08/04/2005 Time: 0810
Event Type: Accident Highest Injury:
Fatal Mid Air: N Missing:
City: DENVER State: CO Country:
N454MA, A MITSUBISHI MU-2B-60 ACFT, WAS CLEARED TO LAND AND
WAS ON AN IFR
APPROACH WHEN IT CRASHED, THE ONE PERSON ON BOARD WAS
FATALLY INJURED, 2.6
NM SOUTH OF CENTENNIAL AIRPORT, DENVER, CO
INJURY DATA Total
# Crew: 1 Fat:
# Pass: 0 Fat:
Fat: 0 Ser:
WEATHER: SPECI 040811Z 010/07 3SM RA BR SCT007 BKN012 OVC 022
Activity: Business Phase:
Approach Operation: Air Taxi (On
Departed: SALT LAKE CITY,
Flt Plan: IFR
Wx Briefing: U
Last Radio Cont: 2.6 NM S APA
Last Clearance: CLRD TO LAND
FAA FSDO: DENVER, CO
Entry date: 08/05/2005