Mooney's M10 light aircraft/trainer program is back on, director of marketing Lance Phillips said Tuesday at AirVenture. "The M10 is something that is important to our investor group. They look at the opportunities that will come around in China in the future, and how that airplane will play a part is extremely important. We're looking to have the M10 for those markets."
Phillips said Mooney doesn't have a program schedule for the two-seat M10 yet, but that "the research team is working on what that [the M10] looks like, and it is moving forward." In early April, Mooney's then-CEO Vivek Saxena said the M10 program was essentially dead, weeks later he resigned after less than a year on the job. Since 2013, Mooney has been controlled by China's Meijing Group. Meijing has made a substantial investment in Mooney that included a significant physical plant modernization and upgrade of research and development.
"Our foreign investment is looking at a long-term and very robust roadmap," Phillips said. "This isn't the only aviation investment they have made and the investment isn't just in capital improvements."
Phillips noted Mooney's expanded R&D infrastructure, previously housed in Chino, California, and now consolidating into its Kerrville, Texas headquarters. The move affects approximately 40 people, Phillips said. He said that in the short-term, Mooney would keep some operations in Chino, but long-term it would not, though it would honor its lease there through 2025. The company plans to sublet its space there.
He also emphasized Mooney's commitment to continuous improvement of its M20 series, most notably the recently certified Acclaim and Ultra models, that are getting Garmin G1000 NXi avionics. Phillips said the first production Acclaim was delivered last week and the second will be delivered today at AirVenture. Phillips said through the first half of the year Mooney had delivered seven aircraft and has a backlog of orders. "We've sold everything on the production line," he said.