Pilot speaks about safety of the MU-2 aircraft

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Reported by: Sara Whaley
Updated: 11/12/2013 10:57 pm Published: 11/12/2013 10:32 pm

It's been the question on many minds since Sunday. What happened to make doctor Perry Inhofe's plane go down?

FOX23 has learned the type of aircraft he was flying, a Mitsubishi MU-2, has a history of crashes.

However, that was 30 years ago. FOX23 dug into the story to find out more about the plane.

Some say it's the safest aircraft in its class, others, especially after Sunday's accident, aren't so sure.

Tuesday, FOX23 got to the bottom of some of those questions with a longtime MU-2 pilot.

Man, machine or environment, all eyes are on the National Transportation Safety Board as they try to figure out the reason for Sunday's crash.
"This is like a Ferrari compared to a Chevrolet" Earle Martin told FOX23.

He has been flying the MU type aircraft for nearly 25 years.

He doesn't deny crashes were up about 30 years ago, but Mitsubishi made some changes.

Some of these changes include a mandatory training class specifically for the aircraft.

Now, "in the last seven years our accident record has been the very best in its class of aircrafts.

FOX23 also learned the MU-2 is a "twin engine" prop jet.

However, on Inhofe's plane Sunday, we do know one of those engines quit.

An aviation attorney told our news partner KRMG the one out of two engines crashing was the reason for the crash.

The aviation attorney told FOX23 the wing design of the plane makes landing with a single engine, "challenging or even impossible."

I wanted Martin's thoughts on that theory, so we asked him, "can you land this airplane with one engine?"

Martin responded, "I landed here in Tulsa at 3 in the morning on one engine probably seven or eight years ago."

That wasn't the only time either, that's why he calls it a "normal" emergency situation.

"You compensate with the flight controls, in terms of using your rudder, trimming your wing and things like that. You compensate with the fact that the plane wants to pull in a given direction," Martin said.

Nobody can deny Inhofe's experience or ability to fly, so many of these unanswered questions will have to be resolved in the future. It could be early next week though, when the NTSB comes out with its preliminary report.

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