a Mooney M20 in flight, seen from the side

The Mooney M20 series of aircraft, introduced in 1953, was in production—off and on—until 2019. During that period more than 11,000 aircraft were produced. According to their current website, it is still possible to have a Mooney Acclaim built.

Creator Al Mooney was a prolific aircraft designer. The Mooney was his 20th design, hence the “20” in the M20 model numbers. The Mooney M20 achieved initial certification in 1955. By 1958 they had sold 200 aircraft. and in that year the company sold 10 aircraft. By the time 1958 rolled around, they had sold 200 aircraft.

Mooney aircraft have set more than 130 speed and altitude records, it was one of the few production general aviation aircraft to achieve a true 200 mph cruise speed in production aircraft.

Following the initial success of the M20, a trend of gradual improvement and upgrades began. The original M20 had wooden ribs and spars in the wings and a 150-hp engine. In 1958, Mooney replaced most of the wooden ribs with metal ribs and upgraded the engine to 180 hp selling a remarkable 499 M20A aircraft. The M20 series have been in more-or-less continuous production from 1953 to 2017 in spite of several ownership and management changes.

In 1970, Butler Aviation purchased both Aerostar and Mooney aircraft and elected to drop the “Mooney” name in favor of Aerostar. Butler Aviation went out of business in 1971. In 1973, Republic Steel purchased the Mooney Aircraft Corporation and restored the Mooney name and production.

M20C Ranger

The Mooney M20C was the first aircraft to get an official name, “Ranger.” Although Mooney’s earlier aircraft had sold well, the Ranger set a standard in sales that Money would have liked to continue every year. The “Ranger” production led Mooney sales for 15 years, from 1962 to 1978, delivering more than 2400 aircraft.

All Mooney aircraft had constant-speed propellers and most had retractable landing gear. The gear was extended and retracted by a handle between the front seats. The pilot had to release the lever and push it down to extend and lock the gear down. Flaps were also positioned manually. Electrically activated landing gear and flaps were introduced later. The M20C had better handling characteristics due to improved control surface deflection, reduction in the cowl flap opening, lighter empty weight, increased maximum flap angle, and an upgraded standard instrument panel. The 180 hp Lycoming engine would pull the aircraft along at a steady 174 knots, or at an economical speed of 152 knots.
Earlier Mooney aircraft can be identified by the smaller windows than later models.

M20J 201

Twenty years after introducing the M20 line of aircraft, Mooney unveiled the M20J, often referred to as the “201” because it was capable of cruising at 201 mph. This particular model provided the pilot with exceptional speed or 700 miles of cruising at 160 mph.

It is difficult to identify different models of Mooney aircraft. The general external features are similar except for the larger windows.

There are performance differences, though, and the “210” benefitted from two decades of operational experience, engineering changes, and refinements.

In 1976, the price for a new “210” was about $44,000, but that did include factory flight training to ensure that pilots were familiar with the aircraft. This may account for the fact that this was the second most sold model of any Mooney, second only to the “Ranger.” A two-axis autopilot made longer cross-country flights less tedious.

Mooney M20R Ovation

The Mooney M20R Ovation got a major boost in power with the upgrade to the 280 hp Continental IO-550G paired with a three-bladed Hartzell prop. The engine upgrade was in part, to compete with aftermarket aircraft modifiers that were retrofitting more powerful engines to earlier model Moonies.

The M20R can take the pilot and three passengers and cruise comfortably at more than 200 mph, and at altitudes of up to 25,000 feet. In 1995, Mooney manufactured 91 aircraft, of which 54 were Ovations. Also, the Ovation was the first Mooney aircraft to have a pilot-side door.

Mooney M20 Interior Dimensions

Max. Passengers 3
Cabin Height 3.6 inches
Cabin Width 3.7 inches
Cabin Length 9'6 inches
Cabin Volume 71 cubic feet

Mooney M20 Baggage Capacity

Total Weight 120 pounds
Total Size 23 cubic feet

Whether you’re heading to meet new clients or your next vacation, the Mooney M20 is one of the many planes we offer, and is a dependable option if you’re seeking economic efficiency without compromising comfort and convenience.

Interested in booking your next trip in the Mooney M20? Contact us to learn more.

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