General Aviation And The Mooney Shutdown

Three years ago, I saw this headline that Mooney’s factory had closed. When you call the Kerrville, TX, plant, you are greeted by an Employee have been furloughed, according to an automated message. As well as not being healthy for Mooney, this is not right for General Aviation.

As a pilot, the Mooney M20 is probably my favorite aircraft. Mooneys are known for being efficient, sleek airplanes that can travel at 200 mph. The majority of my commercial and instrument training was conducted on M20J models. There was nothing I liked more than flying in that plane.

Reason Back to Mooney Shutdown

A Chinese company purchased Mooney a couple of years ago, intending to build a new trainer. It was called the M10. After the financial crisis of 2008, Mooney ceased manufacturing aircraft for five years. According to Wikipedia, Mooney International has a long history and has changed ownership multiple times throughout its history.

Although Mooney had begun manufacturing Acclaim Ultras again, they weren’t producing them in great numbers. According to the web, Mooney created only 14 aircraft in 2018 and four in 2019. Maybe the low sales numbers have something to do with the $850,000 price tag.

What is the reason for the high cost of general aviation?

There are several reasons for that, but one of the biggest is Product Liability Insurance. With the General Aviation Revitalization Act of 1994, this problem was supposed to be resolved.

General Aviation manufacturing experienced a renaissance after World War II. Many pilots who returned from the war purchased aircraft for their personal use. Aircraft for this market was built by companies such as Mooney, Cessna, Piper, and Beechcraft. They peaked in production in the 1970s. In 1978, they produced around 18,000 general aviation aircraft. That is the height of the manufacturing industry.

Since then, it has been declining. Cessna did not generate a profit for the first time in 1982. Lawsuits quickly forced all manufacturers to halt or significantly reduce manufacturing. Cessna said they would stop producing single and twin-engine piston aircraft until the federal government resolved the product liability issue.

Cessna resumed production of piston singles when GARA was repealed in 1994 but discontinued production of the two-seat 152. The cost of a new 172 has also risen dramatically, with a new model costing hundreds of thousands of dollars. While manufacturing restarted, the liability insurance imposed a significant burden on the price.

Piper Cadet Aeroplane

In the late 1980s, a Piper PA-28 dubbed could purchase the Piper Cadet for $45,000. Piper has officially launched the Piper Pilot 100, a reduced version of the plane for the training market. The PA-28 in this configuration presently costs $259,000. A new Beechcraft Bonanza costs more than a million dollars. The Cirrus SR20 costs roughly $454,900. A new Cessna 172 will set you back $398,000. Even when inflation is considered, the cost of an airplane has climbed significantly faster than the inflation rate.

Of course, this has increased the cost of the used aircraft market. I presently share ownership of a Cessna 177RG with three other pilots. It is worth more than what I initially purchased in 1976. While this has boosted the value of the current fleet, it has also raised the average age. A general aviation aircraft is currently 50 years old on average.

When people question why I acquired such an old plane, I tell them it is not that old compared to the usual. On several occasions, I have flown in airplanes older than I am. Furthermore, it is within my financial means.

The health of the general aviation industry is critical for various reasons, the most essential of which is that we require aircraft to teach the next generation of pilots.

Recommend0 recommendationsPublished in Aviation Blog, Aviation Education, Aviation News

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