Another MU-2 Bites The Dust

Having spent over 30 years in the aviation insurance business I can recall that the MU-2, also known as the “Rice Rocket”, is a high-performance turboprop aircraft that requires 110% of any pilot’s attention when flying it.

This aircraft is well known to require a high level of flying skill to operate safely, and is not for the inexperienced or careless pilots. That is not to say that the recent accident in Elyria, OH was flown by either an inexperienced crew or careless pilots. It is just one of those high performance airplanes that require all the skill a pilot can muster when things go wrong.

On January 18th a Mitsubishi MU-2B-60 crashed while approaching the Lorain County Regional Airport in Elyria, OH just after 2 pm in the afternoon. Four persons aboard the aircraft were fatally injured in the accident, including two pilots and two passengers. Among the passengers was Donald Brown, age 89, who holds the patent for drop ceilings and several other inventions.
MU-2B-60 Crash In Ohio

Wreckage of MU-2 in Elyria, Ohio

The Plane Exited The Clouds In A 90-Degree Bank

The co-pilot’s wife told the Ceveland Plain Dealer that the airplane had no known mechanical problems and that she had been told it came out of the clouds in a 90-degree bank and then flew into the ground.

Authorities at the scene reported that the damage to the aircraft was so severe it took hours to remove the remains of the occupants of the aircraft. All four occupants were declared dead at the scene by the coroner.

1st Fatal MU-2 Accident In Nearly 4 Years

Mitsubhishi Heavy Industries America Inc manufactured the aircraft and a company spokesman said that this was the first fatal MU-2 accident in almost 4 years. The MU-2 series of aircraft were manufactured between 1967 and 1985 with about 370 of them operating in the United States.

According to Mitsubishi the MU-2 has been involved in 21 fatal accidents from 1997 through the early part of December 2008. That averages about 2 fatal MU-2 accidents per year for that period of time.

I only flew an MU-2 once on a demo flight and as I recall it was very sensitive on the controls and was a very fast and demanding aircraft from the pilot’s point of view. It is unfortunate that yet another of these high performance aircraft have been involved in one more fatal accident.

Until next time keep your wings straight and level Hersch!

JetAviator7

You are professionals trained to deal with three things that can kill you: gravity, combustion, and inertia. Keep them under control, and you’ll die in bed.

— Sailor Davis, long-time TWA ground school instructor.


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