Backed with cash from Asian investors, the relaunched Mooney International has spent the last eight months hiring staff at both its Kerrville, Texas production plant and its new Chino, Calif. headquarters and R&D center. The company now employs 150 and recently completed its first aircraft–an M20TN Acclaim Type S–since the new investors took control. That aircraft was the first new Mooney off the production line in Kerrville in five years. It was sold via auction and delivered to the customer’s representative on Tuesday at EAA AirVenture 2014. All auction proceeds–$646,000–will be used to establish a Mooney history museum in Kerrville.
Mooney’s new CEO is Dr. Jerry Chen, an aerodynamicist who was on the faculty of the University of Southern California (USC). Chen told AIN that the reborn company has sufficient reserves to operate at a loss for at least five years and would be focusing on the production of its $699,000 Acclaim flagship. The company also plans to restart production of its Ovation3, which has a list price of $649,000.
To date, Chen said the company has booked orders for 14 aircraft, 10 of them from China. He said the company likely would produce one aircraft per month through the remainder of this year and then gradually increase that rate to three aircraft per month in 2016. According to Chen, the company is focusing heavily on the Chinese market and will open an office in Beijing later this summer, exhibit at the Air China show in Zhuhai in November and sponsor an aircraft in the Great Silk Road Air Race, from Turkey to China, in 2015. “China is an important market for us,” he said.
Chen said the R&D efforts in Chino will focus on the development of aircraft modifications and new aircraft. Separately, Mooney announced that it is partnering with Redbird Flight Simulators to equip Mooney facilities at Kerrville, Chino and Beijing with Redbird FMX full-motion simulators. The simulators will have Mooney-branded graphics, fully enclosed cockpits and quick-change configurations. They will be used for sales, transition training and pilot proficiency instruction.