...Mitsubishi Pilots Need Simulator Time, Company Says

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After four fatal crashes of Mitsubishi MU-2 twin turboprops this year, the manufacturer is recommending that pilots of its planes get specialized training in flight simulators, Ralph Sorrells, deputy general manager of Mitsubishi's aircraft product support division, said in The Denver Post on Saturday. Sorrells said his company is "deeply concerned, and we're in the process of trying to get the word out" about the best training practices for MU-2 aviators, the Post said. "I think it's a great airplane, but it has some unique characteristics," John Paul Jones of Colorado, who has logged about 4,800 hours in MU-2 aircraft, told the Post. "If you do not thoroughly understand those characteristics, you're in a precarious flying position." The plane "takes more experience to fly" than the "young guys" who fly it for freight-hauling often have, said Jones. In 36 years, MU-2s have been involved in 180 accidents, killing more than 200 people, the Associated Press reported last week. Mitsubishi is working with the FAA on a possible national upgrade of training for pilots who fly more sophisticated twin-engine turboprops such as the MU-2, Sorrells said. Mitsubishi stopped making the planes in the mid-1980s. About 420 are still flying worldwide.