Mooney Delivers First Plane

This article came from the August 23, 1949 edition of AVIATION WEEK magazine. There were two photos with the article having the caption: "FIRST M-18 is delivered to W. S. Grant (right) by Mooney President Yankey as ... production goes forward in the Wichita plant that will produce 50 planes this year." Unfortunately, we have been unable to reproduce the photos due to the poor quality of the copy we received. Perhaps someone out there can provide us with a better one....

With an NC for production model of single-place M-18, Wichita company plans production of 50 this year.

WICHITA - A new test of the market potential in the U.S. for the single-seat ultra-light airplane will be provided by the tiny Mooney M-18 which has just received Civil Aeronautics Administration certification here for its first production airplane.

»Veteran - Product of Al W. Mooney, veteran designer of the Culver Model V and many of the Culver radio-controlled target planes, the trim little airplane looks like a midget fighter with its low wing design and retractable landing gear.

Its primary advantage is its economy of operation, due to the use of a 25-hp. Crosley Cobra engine, adapted from the Crosley automobile. Plane will be priced at around $1600, the lowest priced airplane on today's market.

»Plane delivered - W.S. Grant, Santa Monica, Calif., distributor for Mooney Aircraft, Inc., took delivery on the first production airplane, after it received its NC from Charles G. Yankey, president of the company and former president of Culver. Yankey is also a Beech Aircraft Corp. vice president.

As Grant prepared to fly the airplane home, he estimated that it would cost him only $6 to $7 for operating expenses on the 1200-mile trip.

»Cheap to Operate - On a recent trial run Bill Taylor, chief test pilot of the company, flew 1682 miles in less than 20 hr. at an average cruising speed of 84.6 mph. and with a fuel consumption of only 1.55 gal./hr. The company has stated that the airplane can be flown 100 miles with a fuel cost of only 50 to 50 cents. The M-18 carries only eight gallons of fuel, but this gives the plane a range of approximately 400 miles.

President Yankey said that the general objective in development of the M-18 was to produce an airplane with low operating and maintenance cost, good safety characteristics and simplicity of operation.

»Safe and Efficient - Designer Mooney, who is vice president of the new company, has provided a coordination of controls through interconnection which enables the pilot to fly the airplane at the most efficient control settings, thereby avoiding marginal and dangerous settings.

"This means," Yankey said, "that the pilot can take off, climb, cruise, approach and land in the safest and most efficient manner with assurance and confidence."

The M-18 stalls with ample warning, and in a stall, it has no tendency to roll; it merely drops its nose and recovers with little loss of altitude, the company states. This characteristic results from a Mooney designed and developed "safe trim" tail. The entire horizontal tail section is hinged and connected with the flaps to insure a safe trim of the craft at all times.

Because of its stall characteristics, Yankey said, warning instruments are "needless and useless."

»Easy Landings - The M-18 controls are in trim with power on or power off and do not need or have trim tabs, thus relieving the pilot of the necessity of re-trimming the airplane. This characteristic is not found an any other present-day airplane.

The single-seater's retractable gear is raised and lowered by a lever which enables the pilot to know that his gear is properly down for landing.

»Speed- The plane's sea level cruising speed is in excess of 85 mph. Top speed is in excess of 100 mph. The established rate of climb is 450 fpm., and the service ceiling is 12,000 ft.

The plane is constructed of metal, plywood and fabric. "We used the best material for each spot, " Mooney said in describing construction of the plane. All essential instruments are included -- airspeed indicator, compass, altimeter, tachometer, oil pressure and temperature gauges, ammeter, water temperature and fuel gauges.

Wing span of the M-18 is 27 feet, length 18 feet, height 6 feet 9 inches. A Sensenich fixed propeller is standard equipment.

Air scoop on the production model has been moved backward to be in line with the wing. Gross weight is 700 pounds.

»50 Planes - Mooney Aircraft owns its landing field and plant facilities east of Wichita and already has announced plans to produce 50 of the lightplanes by year's end.

This is Al Mooney's eighteenth plane design (thus M-18) and is the result of more than 20 years' experience in the design and development of lightplanes. "This is the culmination of Mooney's purpose to provide a safer and more economical means of transportation," President Yankey declared. "It affords the lowest cost transportation of all means now known. It means that an airplane now can be used for personal transportation in business activities because of the economy involved."

August 3, 2001