When the Kerrville Daily Times reported “Mooney furloughs its employees, future in doubt,” the ripple across the aviation industry was near immediate.
And a good many owners — especially those who just bought a shiny new model — and Mooney fans are, I’m sure, in shock. But should they be?
After all, the company has experienced multiple production shut downs and bankruptcies, not to mention more owners than can be counted on two hands.
None of those facts cultivate a sense of confidence. At least not for me.
To be clear, the Mooney is one of my all-time favorite aircraft. It was the Porsche of the skies. A few were even literally powered by Porsche engines.
Alas, the rocket ship that is Mooney is again no more. Permanently? Who knows?
I hope not, but it’ll take more than an announcements of re-started operations and a slick marketing campaign to produce sales.
[UPDATE: I wrote this not long after Mooney furloughed all their employees and closed the factory. As of the first week of December, the factory lights are back on and employees are back at work. No doubt management is working to either sell the company or raise fresh capital.]
I took a look at delivery numbers from 2000 through the third quarter of 2019 for Mooney as reported to the General Aviation Manufacturers Association. Mooney reported just six deliveries of the M20V Acclaim Ultra in the first three quarters this year.
No doubt the recent upgrades Mooney added, such as a second door on the pilot side, larger windows and upgraded avionics made a sweet ride even sweeter.
But overcoming a troubled history, I believe, proved too hard.
I read more than a few comments on Twitter that wondered — basically — if this was the first step to moving all Mooney tooling, production, and technology out of the United States to the owner’s homeland. China in this case.
I hope not. But whether Mooney’s future falls outside U.S. borders, or simply continues apace — starting and stopping — I won’t be shocked.