Mite of the Month, January 2001
Don Darrow of Mukilteo, WA and N777XA, an M-18C, serial number 223, built in 1950.
Last year, Don refurbished N777XA, giving it a totally new look. In March 2000, he wrote: "As you know, I retired from American Airlines and tried to get an N-number for the Mooney that related to the airplanes that I flew: the Boeing 747, 707, 727, Douglas DC-10, etc. All the good ones were taken, but I finally was able to get 777XA (which could mean ex-American). The color scheme is the way the older airplanes were painted. It will also have FLAGSHIP MITE painted on it as well as my name in small letters."
The latest news is that Don is still patiently waiting for the FAA to approve the changes that were made on the airplane so he can fly it legally.
N777XA has a Sensenich wooden propeller and an auxiliary fuel tank. It also has an electric system, which allows more instrumentation.
In addition to the normal VFR instruments, it has an artificial horizon, directional gyro, turn and bank and vertical speed indicators, and a volt/ammeter.
Extras include a Garmin GPS, a transponder, and an ELT.
Looking back at the history of N777XA, it used to be N343M and was owned by Cramer Wilborn of Sevierville, TN and Oak Harbor, WA from 1964 to 1974. More recently, it belonged to Daniel A. Hicks Jr. of Fairview Heights, IL.