Mite of the Month, February 2000

Dave Dodson of Granger, Indiana describes how he never forgot what it was like to own a Mooney Mite, having owned two, thirty years apart. From the following e-mail, it's obvious he's glad to be back in the game, and enthusiastic about doing some major cross-country flying in his little bird.

"I bought 393A in February '99. It had 13 hours on it, after a complete restoration by Larry Hall and Herbert Percy of Newcastle, Oklahoma, whose hangar was destroyed by a tornado in May. This was the last plane out, and if I hadn't brought it home in March [1999], it would have been toothpicks! It's a veritable museum piece, but I've flown it almost 20 hours since I got it. I had a radio and transponder with encoder added so I wouldn't be so limited in where I can go, and I use a Garmin GPS IIIP for navigation.

"My first Mite, N338M, was purchased because I fell in love with Ray Proffitt's blue Mite in Pennsylvania. I was flying from Langhorn, which is now gone, and Ray's Mite was at the next airport over, about 5 miles away. I note that he is still listed in the Registry and thought I'd try to contact him sometime. I sold 338M when the Navy decided to send me back to school (Penn State) full time and turn me into a research scientist for ASW (acoustic signal analysis). I didn't think I'd have time to fly, but was wrong and without an airplane. After school, I met my wife somewhere over the Alps on a TWA flight home, got married and bought a Bonanza (needed another seat!). 

"Thirty years later at the Helicopter show in Dallas I picked up a Trade-a-Plane and saw 393A advertised with the same area code as my Mom. On the next visit to OKC, I went over to see it; when I saw what they had, I knew I might never find another like that -- might as well have been new. I bought it on the spot and flew it home the next month (next trip through OKC on a trip from Phoenix). The only "defect" was leaking seals in the engine from sitting too long (oil was smeared down both sides on the trip home). I had the engine completely dismantled and all new seals, gaskets and o-rings put in, then added the avionics. Now it doesn't use any oil noticeably and the plane stays clean after flights. I dreamed about flying a Mite for 30 years and finally have one again!"

An old photo of N393A

As a matter of history, N393A is an M-18L, built in 1949. It was owned by Paul Runyan of Bingen, Washington in 1967 - 1969, and William A. Horstman of St. Charles, Missouri in 1994.