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Mooney makes a comeback (and shuts down)

Apparently they're going to try again. Is there a market for Acclaims and Ovations? I thought that particular brand was done for to be honest...

Must shoehorn myself into one someday and see what they're like.

ESSB, Stockholm Bromma

Very nice to fly; efficient and serious range; don't flatter your landings, though.

Compared to the immediate competition - Cirrus and Colucessnavalis TTX or what it is called today, they are like a low-slung sports car to a saloon car - you have to be reasonably flexible to get in, you sit very close to the cabin floor, and the cabin is the tightest of the three.

Personally, sad as I think it is (the first faster aircraft I flew was a Mooney 201), they have even less of a chance against Cirrus than Cessna, unless they seriously compete on price, given that they have the same problem Cessna has - i.e., no parachute.

Biggin Hill

We could have a fierce debate on this I am sure

I am sure that if Mooney restarted production, they would sell a load of planes - just like Cessna sold a load of 1960s planes when they restarted production 20 years later... pent-up demand.

But in the long term? No.

Cessna continue to sell 1960s planes (with a new panel) because they meet a mission profile for which there is a constant and strong demand. They don't need to look slick.

But you can't today sell an IFR tourer with a 59kt Vs, which needs 500m hard runway or 800m grass as a baseline (Mooney, TB20, SR22, etc) unless it looks really modern.

Also it would need a decent size cockpit - Americans are probably 50% bigger than in the 1950s when the hull was designed.

Also the thousands of SR22s which have been deposited into the market in the last 10 years have killed the chances of any newcomer SEP selling any useful numbers on an ongoing basis.

A newcomer would need to be something super slick, and fuel efficient - e.g. the Panthera. The sole USP of a late model Mooney is that it goes fast if you pour a load of fuel in. That time has passed - even in the USA.

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Peter, if you are so sure that they would sell loads of planes why didn't they sell more than a handful some years agon when they were still building them? That's why they actually went out of business,

But some Mooneys ARE efficient , very efficient ... look at the old 252 model, still today one of the most efficient planes in this class, can absolutely compete with everything. Or the 201/M20J with the small 4 cylinder engine, still very competitive, and NICE!

But whenyou see how they work(ed) in that factory in Kerrville (my last visit 2000) ... it reminds you of a place in Manchester a 100 years ago ...

I think that the time of the Mooney is over because the cabin is simply to narrow, the price of the plane is too high - and the Cirrus parachute doesn't help either.

Other than that they will always be beautiful airplanes.

Also the thousands of SR22s which have been deposited into the market in the last 10 years have killed the chances of any newcomer SEP selling any useful numbers on an ongoing basis.

I think this is spot on.

In other words: Why buy a new 800.000$ Mooney (a 1950s design, updated to 1990s standards) when you can buy a 2004 SR22 (a 1990s design, updated to 2004 standards) for 190.000$?

Frankfurt (EDFZ, EDFE), Germany

Exactly. I think there are reasons to buy a nice older/used Mooney, and actually an Ovation 2 with Garmin G1000 is not really a "50s" airplane but a very efficient and nice plane. But NEW it would just be too expensive.

If I was at Cessna I'd redesign the 400s fuselage for a BRS system. Other that THAT it is at least an airplane as nice as the SR22

when you can buy a 2004 SR22 (a 1990s design, updated to 2004 standards) for 190.000$?

Needs to be 2007 or newer (G3) to have useful range.

But the point is well made - at the beginning, the quality of the Cirrus was pretty poor, and other than CAPS the competition could still compete...

Cirrus then made year-on-year improvements, and while the cynics compare that to automotive practices and trying to get the richer owners to upgrade every few years (there is probably some truth here), that gradual improvement has led by now to a product that is quite superior to anything else you might find.

8-10 years ago the Columbia had a better engine, better avionics, better electrical system, better build quality, and so on. Now the SR22 uses practically the same engine, the avionics and systems are almost at par, quality issues appear fixed, and Cessna fell well behind on things such as FIKI (now available, years behind). Cessna is still faster, though...

Biggin Hill

I think the time to think of an aircraft model's "time" as being when it is current production are over forever.

Over the last 65 years a great many aircraft designs have come and gone from production, and most are good designs. Many of them remain in service because they do one thing or another well, each filling an ongoing niche. Very slowly some types lose their niche and new types find a niche... before they too go out of production someday. Cirrus's time for retraction to a parts business will come too, replaced by another little bubble of production from somebody else.

Mooneys are in the middle of all that someplace, in volume. They'll remain relevant for decades to come. Viewing aircraft through the paradigm of the computer industry is false, and will remain so. The only openings for new aircraft production come from very slow retirement of existing aircraft, not mass obsolescence.

My comment was based on the pent up demand. I think they could shift a one-off batch of say 50-100 airframes. It might be an interesting project.

I think the same of the Socata TB20 which is a much more modern plane and would be much better still if brought up to date. A lot of people would like to see it come back. But even that would not sell long term - today. And Socata probably had more tooling laying around than anybody else in that game (their main problem was French productivity, and truly crap marketing in the USA).

I don't think anything for the straight IFR tourer market will sell today in a quantity which is worth tooling up for - unless it is something unique.

What could that be?

For the US market, avgas is fine but you must burn a lot less of it. How, I don't know, given the laws of physics and the size of the cockpit required.

For the European market, it would have to be either avgas and a lot less of it, or avtur.

Mooney is not capable of delivering on any of the above.

Those (very few) who want 200kt TAS and don't care what it costs to fly can buy the C400. Even with its fixed gear it will not burn any more at 200kt than a Mooney, and the cockpit doesn't even begin to compare.

I also don't get the idea of an $800k SEP, when $1M buys you a nice condition Jetprop. Like the Mooney, it "likes" hard runways. It will totally outclass everything with a piston engine. Maybe the DOC is just a bit too much higher?

Last time I had a close look at a Mooney was at Friedrichshafen before they packed up for good. A sad sight.

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

If I was at Cessna I'd redesign the 400s fuselage for a BRS system. Other that THAT it is at least an airplane as nice as the SR22

I would also make the gear retractable. The fuselage is the same as the Lancair IV (the wing, however, unfortunately (?) isn't...), so an (uncertified) retractable undercarriage system exists. The undercarriage needs some strengthening, though - the current undercarriage is quite flimsy.

While I'm at it, I would also fix the door locking mechanism - I have yet to see a 400 with intact door seals. All it needs is an interlock that prevents extending the bolts before the door is closed - come on, even the designers of the 1980's Cessna T303 Crusader thought about that one!

Only adding the BRS would just put it level with Cirrus - given the market lead they now have, that alone won't do it.

Retractable with BRS --> 25kt+ faster than the Cirrus --> that'll get those who have to have the fastest of everything.

Biggin Hill
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