Mite of the Month, December 2000
N4105 is an M-18LA, serial number 139, built in 1953. That's owner Bill Vandersande of Porterville, California in the cockpit.
Bill bought the Mite from Pat Abbott of Santa Paula, CA in 1979. He has put 1000 hours on it since then, mostly on short flights, due to having two other airplanes (a rare Temco T-35, N1135T and a Cessna C-150).
One of his more significant flights was to Kerrville, TX to attend the MAPA Homecoming with Tony Terrigno in 1989. They were the only two Mooney Mites there, and received special recognition for their efforts.
Bill has had his share of interesting experiences with 4105:
In 1983, at Columbia, CA the gear retraction lever sheared, so the plane settled on its belly, breaking the prop.
The engine broke in 1987 over Corona, CA east of LA. The valve stem snapped, punching a hole in the top of the piston.
This Mite has the standard 16 gallon main tank but not the auxiliary tank under the seat. It is one of those that still has the little window in the floor for looking to see if the nose wheel is retracted.
When Bill re-did the panel himself for $4000, he added a Terra comm and transponder w/encoder, an electric artificial horizon, and a turn & bank indicator. The Mite is also outfitted with a noise reducing headset and a Zap lead-acid 20 amp sealed battery.
Bill keeps adding goodies as time goes by -- gear doors in 1992, new black upholstery and shoulder harness in 1993. But of course this is appropriate treatment for a well-loved airplane.
Looking back at the history of N4105, it was owned by Edwin L. Healy of Williamsville, NY in 1964 - 1969 and by Donald Bellinger of Little Falls, NY in 1974.