Tue, Sep 13, 2005
Latest Accident Involving Controversial MU-2
While the exact cause(s) of last month's fatal downing of a
Mitsubishi MU-2 on an ILS approach to Denver's Centennial Airport
are not yet known, one aspect is hard to ignore: the plane was
flying way too low.
So says the NTSB's preliminary findings on the August 4th
accident, as reported by the Rocky Mountain News. The report states
the tower controller told pilot Sam Hunter to "... check
altitude... your altitude indicates six thousand four hundred...
you appear to be well below the glide slope" as the MU-2 crossed a
final approach fix approximately six n.m. from the field.
Hunter did not respond to repeated calls by the tower. The
airplane impacted terrain 2.6 miles from the runway, according to
the NTSB, killing the pilot.
As was reported last month in Aero-News,
the crash prompted Colorado Congressman Tom Toncrado to request an
immediate grounding of all MU-2s, pending an FAA
investigation into the fast turboprop twin's
airworthiness. MU-2s are still flying while the
FAA looks into the troubled safety record of the aircraft, the
third such investigation since the early 80s. A search of the NTSB
online database revealed 95 accidents or incidents involving
Mitsubishi MU-2s since 1983, including several fatalities.
that the aircraft is safe, although the company also acknowledges
it requires highly-specialized training to operate safely.
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