NTSB: More Questions than Answers in Inhofe MU-2 Crash

Prominent surgeon, son of U.S. Senator, lost in November 2013 mishap.

Inhofe Family

Inhofe Family

** Photo courtesy of Sen. James Inhofe (from left): Inhofe's son Perry Inhofe, Inhofe's grandson Cole Inhofe and Sen. Inhofe**

The National Transportation Safety Board today released its final report on the fatal crash of a Mitsubishi MU-2B flown by Dr. Perry Inhofe, 51, a prominent surgeon and son of United States Senator James Inhofe (R, Okla.).

The accident near Tulsa, Oklahoma, took place as Inhofe, who was flying alone in the airplane, was approaching to land at Tulsa International Airport, when he overflew the extended centerline of the runway and began a 360 degree turn at low altitude. When he was asked by the tower controller about the situation, Inhofe replied that he had a “control problem.” The turboprop- powered twin subsequently crashed and caught fire.

In its extremely in-depth factual report, the NTSB found that Inhofe, who had more than 2,500 hours of total time including a great deal of time in turbine and twin-engine aircraft, was a careful pilot. He had, in fact, just completed a course that is required by law of all pilots who fly the MU-2 as pilot in command, as part of a special rule that applies just to the MU-2, SFAR-108, which was adopted in response to what the FAA determined was an unacceptably high accident rate.

The mystery the NTSB was unable to solve was why the engine on the MU-2 was shut down in the first place and why the airplane was configured as it was, with flaps and gear extended, as such is not the engine-out operating procedure as required in SFAR 108 mandated training.

In its statement, the NTSB wrote that the probable cause of the crash was:

  • "The pilot's loss of airplane control during a known one-engine-inoperative condition. The reasons for the loss of control and engine shutdown could not be determined because the airplane was not equipped with a crash-resistant recorder and postaccident examination and testing did not reveal evidence of any malfunction that would have precluded normal operation."

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