Type Of Plane Involved In Owasso Crash Scrutinized By FAA

Monday, November 11th 2013, 5:49 pm
By: News On 6

The son of U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe died Sunday in a plane crash in Owasso. Dr. Perry Inhofe was an orthopedic surgeon in Tulsa.

We've learned the type of plane that Perry Inhofe was flying has a safety record that prompted Federal Aviation Administration scrutiny.

The plane is a Mitsubishi MU-2. It's a twin engine turbo prop, and it's unique for many reasons, one being the high wing configuration.

The FAA requires pilots to get additional training on this plane before they can fly one because of its safety record.

11/11/2013 Related Story: Dr. Perry Inhofe, Son Of Sen. Jim Inhofe, Killed In Owasso Plane Crash

According to an NTSB database, this type of plane has been involved in more than 200 reported incidents in the last 45 years including 85 fatal crashes.

That is much higher than most models of planes.

But a local pilot who flew an MU-2 for years says that record has gotten better, and it's not a bad plane - it's a highly demanding plane with a very busy cockpit.

He says it got a bad reputation after several crashes by inexperienced pilots who shouldn't have been flying such a complex plane.

"By the time you get to fly an MU-2 you need to be either a professional pilot or have professional type of training," said pilot Phillip Kirk.

"It's not an unsafe airplane to fly, but it's demanding of skills that are earned through years of flying."

Dr. Perry Inhofe was a very experienced pilot and flight instructor. He had his commercial pilot's license and we've learned he had just completed training on his new plane.

Kirk and other pilots I talked to say certain types of engine failures in that plane would have been incredibly difficult for any pilot to pull out of.