As with all the Mooney models, the Acclaim comes with some impressive options, including a TKS anti-icing package that is approved for flight into known icing. You can also get air conditioning, which is something I pined for during my week with the airplane in the late Texas summer (which feels a lot like the worst summer day anywhere else). The addition of those two options, I might add, while contributing mightily to safety and comfort, combine to cut the useful load tremendously. So many buyers choose to do without them, putting up with the heat on warm days on departure and arrival -- it's nice and cool up high, remember -- while practicing prudence when it comes to the icing issue. Those who live in the ice belt, not surprisingly, are Mooney's best customers for the TKS, which for much of the year can be flown with little or no fluid in the tanks.
I think that's a good way to think about the Acclaim, as an unparalleled one/two-occupant long-range rocket, but maybe more importantly as an excellent regional airplane. This is very much, in fact, how I think of turboprops and how charter companies make use of them. One of the Mooney employees who regularly flies a company Ovation 3 airplane around the Southwest on the way to and from Big 12 football games -- tough gig, I know -- says that the airlines simply can't touch the Mooney for block to block times, not to mention overall convenience. And I believe it.
On a trip out to West Texas, the Mooney delivered me in comfort and high style in just a little longer than the airlines would have, but in a much shorter time when you factor in the lines and built-in wait times of airline travel. And the schedule was all mine.
It's an appealing way of travel on many levels, and I found myself quickly getting used to the speed, continental styling and turbine level systems of the airplane. Also, after a good flight in the airplane, I felt a real sense of accomplishment, what with managing oxygen, speed brakes, landing gear, and running the beautiful G1000 flight deck. It's a lot more than mere transportation, that's for sure, and Mooney customers genuinely appreciate this aspect of ownership, in addition, it goes without saying, to the speed.
On the fence next to the taxiway leading out of the Mooney production ramp, there's a sign that reads, "Fasten your seat belt." Some might take that as a simple safety reminder to the pilots heading out for the runway at Kerrville Municipal. But the real meaning, I'd venture to say, is this: "You're in a Mooney. Prepare to go fast."