Aircraft are pitted against each other in the aviation world often. Owners, operators, and aviation enthusiasts are often found debating specs of one aircraft with its closest competitor—and the Mitsubishi MU-2 and Beechcraft King Air 200 debate is no different.
While these two airplanes are vastly different at a high level—the two have completely different engineering—they are comparable in price range and cabin capacity. Meaning, if you’re in the market for a durable twin turboprop that carries 6 passengers comfortably, you may find yourself comparing the Mitsubishi MU-2 vs. Beechcraft King Air 200.
Cabin Size and Comfort
When comparing cabin size for Mitsubishi MU-2 vs. Beechcraft King Air 200, there aren’t many differences. Both airplanes have a large, comfortable cabin size. The King Air cabin is oval in shape with slightly more headroom, while the MU-2 sits lower to the ground which makes loading and storing luggage easier for passengers.
The cockpits in the MU-2 and King Air 200’s, on the other hand, are vastly different. The King Air cockpit is large and built for comfort, whereas the MU-2 cockpit is built for functionality. This is understandable considering the MU-2’s longstanding history of being used as a war-time aircraft when pilot comfort was less of a consideration over durability and ease of access.
Both the MU-2 and the King Air 200 can easily be moved by a fully charged golf cart, making ground handling virtually similar for either aircraft. One difference between the two, however, is that the MU-2 has a double nose wheel which typically doesn’t work for the standard tow bars at most airports. Because of that, a tow bar fits into the baggage compartment of the MU-2 so this issue can be easily remedied. Additionally, because the MU-2 has a shorter wingspan and tail height, it can fit into smaller hangars than the King Air 200.
Climb Capability, Cruise Speed, Flight Characteristics
- Cruise speed: 290 kts
- Economical cruise speed: 483 km/h (300 mph; 261 kn) at 4,175 kg (9,204 lb) at 7,620 m (25,000 ft)
- Range: 2,334 km (1,450 mi, 1,260 nmi) at 7,620 m (25,000 ft) with full wing and tip tanks including 30 minutes reserve
- Service ceiling: 29,000 ft
- Rate of climb: 2,300 fpm
King Air 200
- Cruise speed: 272 kts
- Economical cruise speed: 225 kts
- Range: 1075 nm with max range 1490 nm
- Service ceiling: 30,000 ft
- Rate of climb: 2,450 fpm
Every aircraft is different, however if comparing a Mitsubishi MU-2 with two Garrett engines to a King Air 200 with two Pratt & Whitney engines, the operating costs for the MU-2 will inevitably be lower. Garrett engines have a 5,000 hour TBO and cost roughly $250,000 to overhaul, whereas the P&W engines have a 3,600 hour TBO and cost roughly $350,000 to overhaul.
However, when comparing hot section inspections, the two aircraft come out relatively the same in terms of cost and labor time.
In terms of scheduled maintenance and inspections, the MU-2 maintenance program is based on an hourly schedule with a few calendar inspections. The King Air schedule of inspections, on the other hand, has a maintenance run sheet that includes a host of hourly and calendar inspections that outweigh the MU-2.
Both aircraft receive exceptional manufacturer support in terms of engine and airframe assistance. Manufacturer support is critical for an owner or operator, so this is an important consideration when comparing the Mitsubishi MU-2 vs. Beechcraft King Air 200.
Although Mitsubishi stopped manufacturing airplanes in the 1980s, they still offer support that rivals many in the industry. And, because Beechcraft is still manufacturing King Airs, their exceptional support continues as well.
It’s no secret that the MU-2 has had some safety concerns in the past. Compared to similar twin turboprops, the accident rate was twice as high and the fatality rate was roughly 2.5 times higher.
However, after a thorough analysis, the FAA determined that the safety concerns were not due to the Mitsubishi MU-2 aircraft itself, but the issue was conflicting training. A more standardized training syllabus and operating procedures were required for pilots operating MU-2’s because their engineering so vastly differed from other turboprops.
Once the training programs were in place, accident rates dropped considerably and have leveled out to be comparable with its turboprop counterparts, the King Air 200 included.
We Are Here to Help
If you’re in the market for a twin turboprop and are considering the Mitsubishi MU-2 or the King Air 200, you won’t be disappointed by either. Both are exceptional aircraft and have a track record for serving pilots very well.
At Winner Aviation, we have extensive experience with inspections, maintenance, and avionics upgrades for the Mitsubishi MU-2 and the King Air 200, and we would love to talk with you about how we can support you and your new aircraft.