Mooney Aviation returned to Oshkosh after a five-year hiatus in grand style, revealing a backlog of 14 orders, delivering the first aircraft off a restarted production line and disclosing plans to offer a diesel engine-powered version.

A US-based company with Chinese investors led by Jerry Chen, a former aerodynamics professor at the University of Southern California, acquired Mooney last October, resurrecting the Texas-based company after it was forced into its latest round of bankruptcy in late 2008.
“Mooney has a rich history with 85 years of existence,” says Chen. “Our plan is to continue to build an organisation that will be sustained for another 85 years and beyond.”
Chen’s investors inherited an assembly line in Kerrville, Texas, with five aircraft in various stages of assembly. The company sold the first aircraft – an M20TN Acclaim Type S – off the restarted line, with all revenues from the sale dedicated to building a Mooney history museum in Kerrville.
Mooney expects to deliver about six aircraft – or one per month – through the end of 2014, Chen says. Mooney was delivering eight aircraft per month shortly before declaring bankruptcy in 2008, and the new ownership may seek to match that level of production.
“As we get into next year we will crank up production rate to two per month, and then three per month, and then much more in the future,” says Chen.
Three of the 14 sales logged so far have come from Mooney’s Florida-based distributor, but Chen believes the real market is in China. Chinese buyers have purchased 10 Mooneys so far, Chen says, with the last sale coming from the auction of the first aircraft.
“China is making great strides in opening up its airspace and Mooney will be a large part of it,” Chen says.
For now, Mooney is building two models – the Acclaim and the Ovation but significant modifications may be coming. Mooney types are powered by avgas, which is increasingly difficult to obtain in several parts of the world, including Asia.

When asked about a possibility of a diesel engine aircraft, Chen pointed to a representative of Continental Motors attending the Mooney press conference at Airventure. “Whenever the engine is ready then we will be working on it,” says Chen.