N130MS is a Mitsubishi Marquise and represents the last variant produced of a historic turboprop dating back over fifty years. In 1959, Mitisubishi set out to build a turbine powered aircraft for the commercial and military markets after years of producing military aircraft. The MU-2 is the first plane designed from scratch to use turbine-powered propellers and incorporates some unique design elements to achieve the designer’s goals. They wanted a plane that flew as fast as possible but could carry people in comfort and operate from unimproved dirt, gravel and grass runways. The result was a masterpiece of engineering:
• The wings are mounted high to ensure the propellers and engines have adequate ground clearance and minimize the risk of ingesting rocks or other materials that could damage an engine.
• The landing gear is a variant of the same landing gear used on the F-104 Starfighter and attached directly to the fuselage allowing higher landing loads.
• The wings have a wing area of only 178 square feet (just four greater than a Cessna 172) with the flaps retracted yet the wing area increases by over 25% when the double-slotted flaps are extended. This provides enormous amounts of lift at low speed when the airplane is maneuvering to takeoff or land.
• Instead of ailerons the wing is equipped with spoilers which extend from the upper surface of the wing for roll control much like a jet.
The result is an aircraft which is built like a tank, can operate from just about any landing surface imaginable yet can climb to 30,000 feet and deliver passengers in pressurized comfort to a location 1,400 nautical miles away at over 300 kts in just a few hours. N130MS was built in 1979 as an MU-2B-60 Marquise — the last version of the MU-2 produced. It has been used in commercial and private aviation over the last thirty years and flown around the world. It has a distinctive HF antenna stretching from the fuselage to the vertical stabilizer because it has frequently crossed the Atlantic and operated in Europe and other parts of the world. It is currently used for business as well as regularly transporting Wounded Warriors and their families for the Veteran’s Airlift Command and animals for adoption and rescue for Pilots and Paws. You can track it’s movements on the internet at http://flightaware.com/live/flight/N130MS.
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