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Mooney makes a comeback

I also found the difference in premium quoted amusing - $600 per year - that's refuelling once after a long flight...

Biggin Hill

Direct Operating Cost

DOC - Went out to walk the dogs just after posting and it suddenly came to me.

Regret no current medical
Sandtoft EGCF, North England, United Kingdom

Peter, you admit that (any) RG is heavier and more expensive to build? An SR22 with RG would be more expensive, heavier and it would have less payload.

Mooney is about the most solid (except TB20 ;-)

I also don't know anything about the Mooney RG system. But a straight statement that RG costs a lot extra is not correct. And the evidence is there for all to see, that a good system can be built, and how to build it.

Mooney landing gear is one of the simplest retractable systems - rubber springs, no hydraulics, originally with manual actuation. Al Mooney started on simple retractables with the Culver Cadet. He took complexity out of that for the M18 single seater, and the M20 was a follow on with equally simple gear.

there is a constant flow of high-spec used aircraft for us poor used-aircraft buyers to choose from.

A guy I know makes Cirrus wheel fairings (all of them) and over the last 5 years I imagine he's been looking for new business based on the visibly huge reduction in volume. The flow was 'constant' five years ago.

Peter, you admit that (any) RG is heavier and more expensive to build? An SR22 with RG would be more expensive, heavier and it would have less payload.

RG will be heavier by the weight of the actuators and the pump, minus the weight of the wheel cowlings and all the related stuff.

I would bet the difference is of the same order as that of a single passenger who eats a Big Mac (or any of the hundred crap food equivalents) once a week

On the TB20 (versus TB10) it is probably of the order of 20kg.

Fixed gear is a marketing exercise for the US market. I am not saying it didn't work, however

A guy I know makes Cirrus wheel fairings (all of them) and over the last 5 years I imagine he's been looking for new business based on the visibly huge reduction in volume

Why would that be? Cirrus sales are much lower than some years ago, but one would expect wheel fairings to be getting damaged at a constant rate.

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Cirrus sales are actually higher this year than the last years. The highest point was 2006, then it went down. But now with the G5 model they are outsold until next spring.

According to Alan Klapmeier, who i interviewd a couple if times in 1996-2000 the decision to make the SR20 with fixed gear only was based on the factors weight, lower maintenance cost and safety.

And there is ONE very important other factor. The glass fibre landing gear is, together with the 20 g shock absorbing seats, the integrated roll cage and (later) the Airbags part of the passive safety concept, because the landing gear is designed in such a way that it absorbs a big part of the loads when then plane comes down on the parachute. There's many pictures and some impressive videos showing how the wheels of the MLG knocked through the underside of the wings.... destroying much of the kinetic energy this way.

Of 50 CAPS deployments 37 were inside the POH paramters for using CAPS, and in none of these cases a single person on board was injured, 77 people altogether, all without a scratch.

THAT combined with the fact that an SR22 is faster than a Bonanza was the concept of the plane. Speed was not the top priority, but since an SR22 can do 185 to 186 KTAS the acceptance for the whole package (!) was very high.

The sales figures prove that Cirrus was right with all these decisions. And it was a BOLD decision because many people (even inside the company) wanted Cirrus to offer RG.

So ,about those Mooneys, I guess nobody sees a future for them? That includes me. I think I said the same when Cessna started manufacturing the 172 again in the nineties, and I was wrong. Apparently some people, in fact a lot of them, think it's a swell plane worth every penny..

Maybe I'll be wrong again.

ESSB, Stockholm Bromma

The 172 is not to be confused with the rest of the market, I think. There's just too many pilots still, and many are older one, who will always and only want to fly a Skyhawk. Because they feel safe in it (it actually is pretty safe) and because they don't have any ambitions flying "more modern" airplanes. Becasue they know it inside out.

Another reason is that there IS NO new airplane that can replace the 172. The market concentrated on developing, slick, fast IFR machines – and on light aircraft (European "Ultralights") ... but here is a niche left in which the 172 can survive. It is practical, it is easy to fly, it has two doors, it can land on practically every airport - there's probably one million mechanics who can repair it.

And why certify a new generation of the Skyhawk for 50 million dollars when the old model is good enough?

The BEST step Cessna made lately is the 182JT. I wish this engine was offered by Cirrus.

Product-wise there would be a future for the Mooney (Acclaim, Ovation) in a niche. There will always be pilots who will be attracted by the special flair, the design and the performance.

Why it will not work: The company will not generate enough revenue in this niche to survive. They will simply not sell enough of them to be able to run the operation.

I really wonder why somebody would make an investment in a company like Mooney. How many investors tried to revive Mooney in its complete history?

Maybe they should not have sold the TBM line to Socata ...

Maybe they should not have sold the TBM line to Socata ...

My recollection of what I heard about this (way before my time) is that Mooney were peripherally involved in the TBM project but dropped out very early. They never had much applicable capability, and there is almost nothing AFAIK in the TBM airframe which is similar to anything in a Mooney.

What is amazing is that nobody else has managed to enter that market either, in 20 years...

I do think that with appropriate tooling and obviously a complete overhaul of working practices one could build a batch of say 100 airframes quite cheaply. Airframes don't cost much to make; the metal costs about $1000 and the rest is labour which can be little or a lot depending on the tooling.

Then one would finish them off with engines, avionics and other parts bought in as required.

There are lots of little things which cost a fortune but which can be easily targeted e.g. the wiring harness. You would standardise that, throw in all the options, and get it wired up in China. It would be 1/10 of the cost.

I think that would have been a good approach for Socata too, in 2001, when the bean counters decided to stop piston production. One final batch of say 100 TB20s and TB21s, and finish them off when they get sold.

We do this at work - I almost never drop a slow moving product. Just build say 100 of them and stick them on the shelf.

What I don't know is whether the market for a Mooney might be 100/year 10/year or 1/year. The last one is obviously a waste of time, but they still have a lucrative spares operation (like Socata and others) so the fixed costs can be shared.

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom
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