Mooney Aircraft's worst fears for development of its new M20S Eagle piston single have failed to materialise, and it is on schedule to begin delivering the entry-level aircraft in January, after US approval around 1 December.

Soon after Mooney launched the Eagle early this year, company sources confided that the US Federal Aviation Administration was considering requiring certification of the aircraft to the latest amendments to Federal Aviation Regulations (FAR) Part 23.That threat appears to have disappeared.

Mooney engineers took the simplest approach possible to developing the Eagle and planned to make it another modification to the aircraft, covered by the original M20 type certificate obtained in the late 1950s under the CAR 3 rules that preceded today's FARs.

Mooney derived the M20S from the popular M20R Ovation, using the same extended-length fuselage and Teledyne Continental IO-550G engine - but derated to 175kW(235hp) instead of the Ovation's 210kW.

To lower the base price to $319,000, Mooney will install a lower-cost avionics package. The result, it says, is an entry-level aircraft with a 175kt (325km/h) cruise speed and a maximum range of 2,240km (1,210nm). The base price includes an instrument flight-rules (IFR) panel with Trimble TrimLine avionics, including TS100 transponder, TN200 navigation/glideslope receiver, two TX100 communications radios, and IFR-approach approved TN500 global positioning system.

Also standard is an S-Tec System 30 fully coupled two- axis autopilot, and the same Moritz digital engine displays and PS Engineering PMA7000 audio panel.

Source: Flight International