Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, LTD. (MHI), a large shipbuilder / manufacturer, in Japan first entered the field of aviation in 1921 at a location adjacent to the seaport in Nagoya. By the time the MU-2 went out of production in 1986, MHI had manufactured over 30,000 aircraft and over 100 different types. go to end of page
The Design Concept
From the ground up, the MU-2 airplane was designed to be powered by a turbo propeller engine. Most manufacturers of the time started with an airplane for reciprocating engines and then, later, would hang turboprop engines on their aircraft.
Surveys taken during the 1950's indicated that the U.S. corporate aviation market had a need for fast, economical aircraft with short field landing capability. To achieve these requirements, MHI designed an aircraft to operate with the latest state-of-the-art, highly reliable turboprop engines. The turboprop engines provide not only the speed requirements, but also, the capability of continued economical horsepower efficiency at higher altitudes.
In order to achieve the short field takeoff and landing capability for the aircraft, a highly efficient double slotted Fowler flap was choosen and designed to run the full span of the wing. A spoiler system was utilized for roll control instead of ailerons, thereby permitting the full wing flap. Use of spoilers for roll control was the latest state-of-the-art and has many advantages over typical ailerons for roll control.
One advantage of spoilers over ailerons is the retention of positive roll control even during slow flight, a realm in which ailerons become sluggish, heavy, and are much less effective. Spoilers are also not subject to aileron snatch. In-flight comfort in turbulent air was enhanced by utilizing higher wing loading when the airplane is in the cruise configuration (flaps retracted). Landing gear was designed to be rugged since the designers expected considerable demand to be placed on the gear when unimproved runways were utilized.
Luxurious seating for seven, spacious wood grain storage cabinets, pull-out tables, and a refreshment center in a pressurized/insulated cabin were included. Ample storage was provided for baggage. Design for the MU-2 began in 1959. Four years later, the first MU-2 prototype, the MU-2A was undergoing test flights in Japan. All future production airplanes were MU-2B. The airplane made its U.S. debut as a static display during the 1964 Worlds Fair in New York City.