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Mooney Caravan to OSH
Buying a Mooney
by Andrew Czernek, aczernekATcomcast.net
A lot of airplane ownership is common no matter whether you're dealing with Brand B or C or P – insurance issues; finding a hangar or tie-down spot; and annual inspections. However, there are lots of model-specific aspects to owning a Mooney and the intent of this piece is to give you an idea WHERE to get the kind of detailed information about these fine metal airplanes. There are several dozen Mooney models and they have common mechanical characteristics in such things as their landing gear or tail screw – but a C model has a different body from the J model – and both are different from the still bigger M, R and S models.
If you’re considering buying a used Mooney, there are several good places to start the research, including past issues of the Mooney Aircraft Pilots Association’s MAPA Logs. Lela and Trey Hughes are also likely to be very helpful if you pick up the phone and call them. Also, note that the MAPA website lists ads with aircraft for sale by individual owners (as does the monthly MAPA Log):
In addition, the Mooney Mail list, now 10 years old, has active discussions among pilots on every topic imaginable. It has a searchable archive if you’re a member but one of the best introductions to detailed information about owning a particular Mooney model may be to e-mail a pilot in your area and talk with them about their plane. Chances are you’ll end up with an invitation to go flying.
In addition, you’ll find a number of dealers who specialize in selling used Mooneys. It’s often worth picking up the phone to talk with them, as they’re frequently aware in advance of aircraft that will soon be coming to market.
Paul and Sheri Loewen, at LASAR in Lakeport, CA have been involved in organizing social events for West Coast MAPA for decades and have probably met every Mooney owner in California, Oregon and Washington states. In addition to being extremely knowledgeable about Mooneys, Paul has done a number of modifications to help modernize Mooneys. And Sheri, who handles the aircraft sales/brokerage side of the business, is just a delight to talk to.
Richard Zephro, of Coast-to-Coast Aircraft Sales runs an eclectic and interesting Mooney website, www.mooneyland.com and has been an active participant in the Mooney e-mail list. He's been selling Mooneys for 15 years and has more than 4,000 hours in different models, so is a wealth of information about them.
Jimmy Garrison, of All-American Aircraft Sales, has written quite a bit for the MAPA Log about Mooneys, including a long-running series covering the changes in values for different Mooney models. You'll also find several articles on Mooneys on his website.
Contact information for each of these specialists and direct links to their aircraft sales pages:
Coast to Coast Aircraft Sales
All-American Aircraft Sales
The leading Mooney service centers also often resell used Mooneys.
Though there’s a potential conflict of interest in having a business that’s selling an aircraft do your pre-purchase inspection, often aircraft that have been maintained by a leading Mooney service center over a long period of time will fetch a premium due to their intimate knowledge of service issues. Many of these service centers do annual inspections for hundreds of Mooneys each year and will be aware of service issues that your local FBO just doesn’t see often enough.
As with MAPA and dealers who are Mooney specialists, one of the advantages in talking with these service centers is in learning about the intricacies of maintenance and operation from an expert like Tom Rouch at Top Gun Aviation or Don Maxwell at Don Maxwell Aviation.
Visiting the websites of any of the Mooney specialists and service centers can also be helpful because virtually all run an annual open house or other special event during the year for customers. It’s a good place to meet owners and shop staff in a less-formal environment.
Below is a list of service centers with used Mooneys for sale:
Don Maxwell Aviation
Midwest M20 Sales & Service
Top Gun Aviation
Willmar Air Service
Mooney Airplane Co.