Cites Twelve Accidents In Less Than Two Years
"I believe that there
is something intrinsically wrong with this plane." So said Colorado
Representative Tom Tancredo to a Denver television station last
week... and frequent Aero-News readers know what aircraft he's
In the wake of yet another accident involving the
high-performance Mitsubishi MU-2 twin-turboprop -- this one in
British Columbia -- Tancredo has called for congressional hearings
into what he refers to as the "abysmal flight safety record and
manufacturer coverups" involving the MU-2.
The latest accident -- in which two pilots were lost shortly
after takeoff from Terrance, British Columbia on December 20 -- is
the 12th in less than two years, according to Tancredo.
The NTSB Accident Database confirms 14 people have been lost in
eight fatal accidents, with four others listed as Nonfatal.
As was reported in
Aero-News, Tancredo became an outspoken opponent of
the MU-2 in the wake of two fatal accidents involving the aircraft
near Denver's Centennial Airport, in just over a year. The
circumstances involved in the Terrance accident are similar to an
accident approximately one year ago at Centennial, when two pilots
were lost after their aircraft went down after takeoff.
After the latest accident, Tancredo sent a letter to the
National Transportation Safety Board calling for the agency "to
conduct a 'special safety study' to determine what is causing the
unexplained, undetermined loss of power (in) engines in a growing
number of incidents."
The aircraft's flight
characteristics at low speeds and altitudes -- what is
traditionally called "slow flight" -- have also been questioned,
and it is in those areas most have suggested the MU-2 may pose
additional challenges to a pilot unfamiliar with the aircraft's
In two previous inquiries into the safety of the MU-2, the FAA
has called for increased pilot training to remedy the situation.
The agency also recently submitted what it calls a comprehensive
review and safety evaluation of the MU-2, which the agency began
shortly after a second accident near Centennial on August 4,
Operators of the MU-2, as well as
Mitsubishi, have also called for increased pilot
training for the aircraft -- but according to Tancredo
(right), those responses aren't enough.
"If indeed the FAA is right, that this plane keeps falling out
of the sky because of pilot error, then I'm going to tell you this
plane is too complicated because on the continent we don't have
good enough pilots to fly this thing, so it should still be
grounded. I don't really believe it is pilot error," Tancredo told
Congress is expected to review the FAA's evaluation within 30
days, according to KMGH. The television station began its own
investigation into the MU-2 following the August accident.