Mitsubishi MU-2 Upgrades You Can Plan For

The Mitsubishi MU-2 is built for long-lasting durability. Built in wartime, the Mitsubishi MU-2 was designed as a compact, but sturdy, aircraft capable of short landings and short takeoffs in unreliable terrain. Because of this, owners and operators find that Mitsubishi MU-2 upgrades are few and far between.

However, there are a few upgrades for the Mitsubishi MU-2 that you can plan for, particularly for parts that are aging out.

About the Mitsubishi MU-2

Today, the MU-2 remains a performance leader. Only the King Air 300, 350, and Piper Cheyenne 400LS rival its cruise speed. After overcoming its reputation for being considered an unsafe, and even dangerous, aircraft, owners and operators have found the MU-2 to be an exemplary aircraft.

The MU-2 boasts a lot of unique characteristics. It looks and handles a lot differently than typical turboprops, most of which evolved from piston airplanes. But the MU-2 was purposefully built as a turboprop with compact engines and four-blade props that turn counterclockwise (the opposite of other airplanes). As a result, the torque and P-factor require left rudder during climb out and the right engine becomes the critical engine when it comes to engine-out handling.

Mitsubishi MU-2’s fly well on one engine, but its morphing wing requires special attention to maintain control at a low speed, engine out condition. Pilots who are learning to fly typical multi-engine piston airplanes are trained to ensure that the gear and flaps are up to maximize performance. But with the MU-2, retracting the flaps at a low airspeed could result in a loss of climb performance.

It’s these intricacies and quirks of the MU-2 that ultimately led the FAA to implement further training measures for pilots operating MU-2. With the right level of knowledge, pilots can operate an MU-2 with ease and truly experience all that the aircraft has to offer. 

Transponder Upgrades

In January 2020, the FAA mandated that aircraft operating in certain airspace were required to have an Automatic Dependent Surveillance – Broadcast (ADS-B) system that includes a position source capable of meeting the requirements outlined in the regulation (14 CFR 91.225. Those requirements set a minimum performance standard for both ADS-B Transmitters and the position sources integrated with the equipment. The airspace the regulation impacts includes:

  • Class A, B, and C airspace
  • Above the ceiling and within the lateral boundaries of a Class B or Class C airspace area upward to 10,000 feet MSL
  • Class E airspace within the 48 contiguous states and D.C. at and above 10,000 feet MSL, excluding the airspace at and below 2,500 feet above the surface
  • Class E airspace at and above 3,000 feet MSL over the Gulf of Mexico from the coastline of the US out to 12 nautical miles
  • Within 30 nautical miles of airports identified in 14 CFR part 91, Appendix D (otherwise known as the Mode C veil)

Under this regulation, an ADS-B Out transmitter alone isn’t sufficient enough to meet those requirements, so a Mitsubishi MU-2 will need to be equipped with a Version 2 ADS-B Out transmitter and a compatible GPS position source. That could include:

  • Mode S Transponder with Extended Squitter
  • Universal Access Transceiver (UAT)

The most important factor to consider when choosing a ADS-B Out system is the airspace that you primarily operate in. If you’re operating at or above Flight Level 180, you need to be equipped with a Mode S Transponder with Extended Squitter. If you are operating below 18,000 feet MSL and within the required US airspace, you can either be equipped with the Mode S Transponder or the UAT.

GPS Upgrades

Similarly, to be compliant with the 14 CFR 91.225 regulation, a compatible GPS position source must also be installed.

Generally, the FAA recommends a WAAS GPS that is compliant with either the latest version of TSO-C145 or TSO-C146. As a general rule, these units are readily available for general aviation use and meet the 14 CFR 91.225 requirements.

Additionally, most avionics vendors can offer stand-alone GPS receivers and package them as a kit with ADS-B transmitters. Talk with your avionics technician at Winner Aviation to determine the right options for your Mitsubishi MU-2 upgrade.

MU-2 Autopilot Upgrades

When the SFAR 108 was published, training requirements were issued for all operators of Mitsubishi MU-2s. While most of the SFAR 108 deals with training, there is a section that specifically addresses autopilot. It states:

“A person may operate a Mitsubishi MU-2B airplane in single pilot operations without a functional autopilot when-

(1) Operating under day visual flight rule requirements: or

(2) Authorized under a FAA approved minimum equipment list for that airplane, operating under instrument flight rule requirements in daytime visual meteorological conditions.”

That essentially means that, if your autopilot becomes inoperative you need a secondary qualified pilot, or you need to fly day VFR, fly IFR in VMC conditions, or have the autopilot repaired before flight.

Owners and operators of a Mitsubishi MU-2 will want to consider upgrading their aging autopilots to newer, digital tech, like the S-Tec 3100 digital flight control system by Genysys Aerosystems.

The S-Tec 3100 is one of the most advanced autopilots for single and twin-engine aircraft and features:

  • Precise, digital flight control for every phase of flight
  • 2-axis
  • Automatic trim
  • Envelope protection
  • Straight and level recovery
  • Precision approaches/missed approaches
  • Indicated airspeed hold
  • Altitude preselect

At Winner Aviation, we are well versed in Genysys installs, as well as other autopilot brands. 

Winner Aviation Can Handle Your Mitsubishi MU-2 Upgrades

Our qualified and knowledgeable technicians are ready to walk you through your Mitsubishi MU-2 upgrades and talk through the specific options for your aircraft and flight needs. Contact us today for a free quote, or to talk with one of our maintenance technicians.

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