Fastest Piston in the Skies?

Mooney's new turbocharged Acclaim is powerful and sleek. Will it take the title as fastest piston-powered plane from the Columbia 400?

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acclaim02

Amid much fanfare at the Sun 'n Fun Fly-In in April, Mooney launched its new Acclaim piston single. The ceremoney featured a surprise appearance by Mooney CEO Gretchen Jahn, who just before the announcement had snuck into the airplane and was waiting inside as the new model was unveiled. If it meets the manufacturer's projections, and Mooney is saying it already does, the Acclaim would be the fastest piston-powered airplane in the skies. Or tied for it. Both it and the Columbia 400 cruise at very high altitude, 25,000 feet, at around 235 knots. To get that kind of speed, there's more power. The airplane will feature a 280-hp turbocharged TSIO-550-G engine that will enable it not only to do 236 knots at FL 250 but to cruise at better than 200 knots at 10,000 feet, Mooney CEO Gretchen Jahn said at the unveiling. And the new bird will have long legs, too. The Acclaim, officially designated the M20TN, will boast a fuel capacity of 130 gallons, giving it a long-range cruise of 1,600 miles at 200 knots. Mooney currently has two airplanes in the test program, including the one it unveiled at Lakeland, which is outfitted with a deluxe interior and the Garmin G1000 flat-panel avionics system. Mooney has not yet announced when it will introduce the G1000 package with Garmin's integrated autopilot. Price of the the Acclaim is $495,000, and certification and first deliveries are expected later this year.