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Mooney Aviation Back in Business
Mooney confirmed today that it plans to resume aircraft production in January at its factory in Kerrville, Texas, after a five-year absence from the market. The move is being made possible by an undisclosed investment from a mysterious California company called Soaring America Corp.
Reports from a Chinese news source last week indicated that Meijing Group, a Chinese real estate developer, was negotiating to buy 80-year-old Mooney. It's unclear whether Meijing Group is related to Soaring America, whose president is listed as Cheng-Yuan Chen. Chen is also named as the owner of a hobby store near Los Angeles as well as another mysterious California company called Global Eagle Aircraft.
Mooney says details of the financial arrangement will remain confidential. But it's apparently sufficient to allow production of the Acclaim Type S and Ovation series piston singles to restart as soon as the company can hire the factory workers to build them.
"It's a new day for Mooney," said company CFO Barry Hodkin. "And with a new investment group that is committed to the future, we're expecting to make a strong move in the industry."
The first order of business will be to hire and train a new workforce and reestablish the supply chain. Mooney says it plans to hire up to 100 workers within the first year of operation, with that number expected to rise quickly depending on how successful the company is in staging a comeback.
"While we expect to be reunited with some of our previous employees, we are confident we'll attract new talent as we re-enter this aviation space," Hodkin said. "We're looking for the best and brightest people to help meet our vision for the future."
The Acclaim Type S would reclaim its crown as the world's fastest single-engine production airplane. A holder of more than 130 speed records, it has a normal cruise speed of 230 ktas and a service ceiling of 25,000 feet. The Ovation series has cruising speeds up to 190 ktas and a service ceiling of up to 20,000 feet.
With the rebirth of the company, look for Acclaim and Ovation to undergo upgrades designed to help them compete in the market, Mooney says.
"It's too early to provide the details, but we'll have some very exciting announcements in the near future about the technological advances that will accompany the Acclaim Type S and Ovation series," said Hodkin.