October 9, 2013
By Alton K. Marsh
Mooney Aviation Co. Chief Financial Officer Barry Hodkin has announced that new funding from a California company called Soaring America will allow the restart of production in January of the Acclaim and Ovation series. Earlier reports this week from a Chinese news agency claimed a Chinese real estate investment group had purchased the company, but the Mooney statement made no reference to such a purchase.
The Chinese news website CRI.com said the purchase of Mooney Aviation Co. was approved by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States on Oct. 2. Efforts to confirm the approval were unsuccessful since that government committee, along with the majority of federal agencies, is closed due to the lack of an approved federal budget. The Acclaim is claimed to have a normal cruise speed of 230 knots true airspeed while the Ovation is said by the company to cruise at 190 knots true airspeed.
Hodkin was quoted at EAA AirVenture 2013 in early August as saying efforts were in progress to find a funding partner so that Mooney could return to production. The company was forced to halt all production in 2008 when the economy collapsed, and to lay off most of its 320 employees. It currently has 11 employees who provide support to Mooney owners.
No purchase amount was given. The Chinese website said Meijing Group, a real estate developer claimed by the Chinese news agency to be the new owner, is registered in the provincial capital of Zhengzhou. The report claimed that city is transitioning from a rail hub to an “aerotropolis.”
AOPA Pilot Senior Editor Alton Marsh has been a pilot since 1970 and has an airline transport pilot certificate and instrument and multiengine flight instructor certificates, aerobatic training, and a commercial seaplane certificate.
AOPA expressed concern in a meeting with town officials from East Hampton, New York, that restrictions proposed to curb airport noise “overwhelmingly” generated by transient commercial flights would unfairly burden traditional airport users.
The FAA on Feb. 23 issued a special airworthiness information bulletin recommending preflight inspection of Robinson R44 and R44 II main rotors.
AOPA told lawmakers that a tax-abatement bill introduced in Nevada would stimulate aviation business and make more services available to members.
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