July 6, 2010
By Alton K. Marsh
Mooney Aircraft is riding out the economic downturn through customer service and warranty support work, a spokeswoman said. Once an employer of 400 workers, the Kerrville, Texas, company now has 55.
Customer support remains fully staffed at the factory. Mooney did not display last year at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wis., and will not display again this year, but continues to attend other shows such as Sun ’n Fun in Lakeland, Fla., and AOPA Aviation Summit in Long Beach, Calif., Nov. 11 through 13. Mooney will send factory representatives to Oshkosh, as it did last year.
The Mooney inventory sold out last December. There are no new aircraft at the factory or at dealers. Some 7,000 Mooney aircraft remain in service. Although there are eight partially completed aircraft in the factory, Mooney will not complete those unless a production line can be sustained. A ready workforce remains in the Kerrville area, although some now drive to aerospace jobs in San Antonio. Others have found work in Kerrville.
Talks are in progress with new investors so that the production line can be restarted. However, the investors feel the economy remains volatile, and while many indicators have improved, there remains little confidence among customers in the current recovery, the spokeswoman said. Mooney has received inquiries from owners who want to upgrade, indicating support for a production line once the economy improves.
Collaboration between the German government, academia, and airplane manufacturers may make future aircraft cabins more protective of pilots and passengers. The Safety Box team plans to apply auto racing technology to general aviation.
A father and his 14-year-old son were helping another pilot ferry a newly purchased aircraft from California to their home field in Virginia. The three made an overnight stop in Albuquerque before flying on to Illinois for fuel. But shortly after they parked the aircraft in Marion, Ill., they were approached by as many as 18 uniformed and non-uniformed law enforcement officers who came running toward the airplane.
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