Project Notebook: Mooney M20V Acclaim Ultra

The fastest civilian piston single gets a second door and upgrades galore.

One of the biggest complaints Mooney has heard from its thousands of M20 customers is the lack of a left-side door. While adding a second door to a decades-old design is no easy feat, the company listened to the feedback. In February, Mooney announced the M20V Acclaim Ultra, which has a new composite skin to enclose the cabin’s protective chromoly-steel roll cage.

Not only was Mooney able to add the second door to the composite enclosure, the door design is a full 4 inches wider than the previous version.

What that means for this single-engine speedster is that access to the rear seats is now significantly better. And, of course, the addition of a door on the left side of the fuselage allows the pilot to step right in the left seat without having to awkwardly squeeze through the entire width of the cabin.

Mooney M20V Acclaim Ultra
Cabin access is significantly better with the new design. Gary Blockley

Another benefit of the new composite skin is that the doors provide a tighter fit compared with the old metal versions. This results in a quieter cabin and potentially less drag, Mooney says. Also, the windshield and windows are slotted into the composite from the outside, a process that is much faster and will make replacements a breeze compared with the previous design. The tail cone and wings remain metal, and the cowling was already made of composites.

In addition to the new exterior, Mooney modernized the cabin and panel to follow in line with the gorgeous interior of the M10 three-seater. The accented leather seats will come in two color schemes: black and saddle brown, and black and light gray. Mooney will offer four exterior paint-scheme options.

The new oversize soft-touch switches on the panel look and feel terrific, and the G1000 avionics can now be controlled through Garmin’s keypad, mounted at the bottom of the panel. While it is not quite in the right spot for the armrest position, it is within easy reach, and the ­capability to type in fixes and frequencies rather than twist the G1000’s knobs is a great improvement.

Mooney M20V Acclaim Ultra
A keypad mounted at the bottom of the panel controls the airplane’s G1000 avionics. Gary Blockley

What has not changed is the 280 hp Continental TSIO-550-G engine. Mooney says the performance numbers are not expected to change with the Acclaim Ultra upgrades, with the top speed remaining best in class at 242 knots. The typical useful load for the Acclaim Ultra will be right around 1,000 pounds, and the range with the extended 100-gallon tanks can be stretched to 1,275 nm at a cruise speed of 175 knots.

New Acclaim Ultra airplanes are already rolling down the production line in Kerrville, Texas, and Mooney expects to receive the sign off from the FAA for the upgrades in the second quarter of this year. The price tag for the Acclaim Ultra is set at $769,000.

Mooney will also produce the M20U Ovation Ultra for $689,000, the Ovation being a slower, ­nonturbocharged version of the Acclaim. Look for a full flight review in an upcoming issue of Flying.

See photos from inside Mooney’s Kerrville, Texas, factory, where the Acclaim Ultra is built. Photo Gallery

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