FAA Proposes Checks Of MU-2B

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The FAA last week issued a proposed Airworthiness Directive that would affect certain Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) MU-2B series airplanes. The proposed AD aims to detect and correct improper rigging of the propeller feathering linkage. The improper rigging could result in an inability to feather the propeller, which could result in asymmetric drag and control difficulties that are outside of the operational envelope of the aircraft, the FAA said. Recent accidents and the service history of the Mitsubishi MU-2B series airplanes prompted the FAA to conduct an MU-2B Safety Evaluation. In conducting this evaluation, the team employed new analysis tools that provided a much more detailed root cause analysis of the MU-2B problems than was previously possible, the FAA said. About 400 airplanes are affected. Comments on this proposed AD must be submitted by May 2. The MU-2B has often been cited for concerns about its safe handling qualities. Last week, a wrongful-death lawsuit was filed in Michigan on behalf of the mother of a 33-year-old pilot who died when a Mitsubishi MU-2B-36 crashed during a cargo flight from Hagerstown, Md., to Bangor, Maine, in March 2004. The suit claims that "the aircraft [was] defective, unreasonably dangerous and/or unfit for its intended use," according to Donald J. Nolan of Nolan Law Group, who filed the suit. The NTSB found the probable cause of that crash was the pilot's loss of aircraft control for undetermined reasons, which resulted in an inadvertent stall/spin and subsequent impact with the ground. Icing was reported in the area, but NTSB investigators found propeller de-ice, engine intake heat, windshield anti-ice, and wing de-ice were all in the "off" position.