Keith Mackey's N4159 Update Page

[See the latest update at the bottom of this page]

From: Keith Mackey
Date: Sat, 19 Mar 2005 10:23:22 -0500
To: Dave Rutherford
Subject: Mooney Mite

Hi Dave:

Thought I'd give you a progress report on N4159.

The ship was stripped right down to the frame. Steel parts powder coated, all hardware replaced, aluminum was etched, alodined and primed before painting. Since the ship had an A65-8 engine with no electrical system, it was necessary to fabricate a box to accommodate the A65-12 engine alternator which is now installed with a fresh overhaul, new Millennium cylinders, a lightweight starter and 4 lb. 30 amp alternator. The sealed battery weighs 10 lbs less than the original.

Since the airplane still had original fabric and had been well preserved by Phil Harbaugh since it last flew in 1969, it was all pretty much as it came out of the factory. I took hundreds of pictures as I took it apart of all the details to help in reassembly. These are available to anyone who needs to see how something was originally done by Mooney.

Since I wanted to keep the airplane as original as practical, I saved the sections of the fabric with the paint design and scanned them into the computer so they could be exactly reproduced. A local graphics company cut them out of vinyl and has all the patterns to cut them for anyone else who may need them. Same with the placards, all were reproduced by silk screen method.

The ship has a modern com radio, transponder with encoder and an electric horizon as well as a GPS. If I ever make a cross country as long as those done by Phil, it will be a lot easier to navigate.

As you can see, the fuselage is essentially finished. The tail is ready for recover and the wing not far behind. With luck, it can fly before year's end.

Keith Mackey

These photos were received on 8 September, 2005 along with a note that N4159 is almost ready to fly. Note the reproduction of Mooney's original crescent symbol in the fuselage stripe.

Received September 14, 2005:

First flight: October 7, 2005! Keith reports everything worked and everything went well. The flight took place at FD04, Leeward Air Ranch, a flying community where Keith lives in Ocala, FL. His wife took the photos. You notice that the canopy was open for safety reasons.

NOTE: N4159 was Mite of the Month in March, 2004