The Mooney Airplane Co. is now Mooney International Corp., a nod to the Kerrville, Texas-based manufacturer’s global reach.
Although the name may seem to signify a shift away from domestic operations, the new owners are investing heavily in Kerrville and a new facility in Chino, California. There also is a new partnership with a Chinese-based company to provide both simulation and flight training.
When Jerry Chen took over the company in 2014, there were fewer than 10 employees. Today, between the manufacturing operations in Kerrville and research and development in Chino, there are more than 200 employees.
The biggest indication of new investment is the M10, a clean-sheet design being run out of Chino. Chen said progress is coming rapidly, and that wind tunnel testing is complete. Composite lay-up is in process, and the intricacies of the production line are already being put in place. Certification is expected in late 2017, with Chinese flight schools being a primary target market.
Finally, lovers of Mooney history can rejoice on news of a new museum to be based near the Kerrville factory. The company is partnering with Seattle’s Museum of Flight and Houston’s Lonestar Museum to include an Aviation Learning Center, where local students will come in and learn about the flight with a STEM, or science, technology, engineering, and math focus.