Mite of the Month, December, 2001

This month's featured airplane, N4142, is owned by Dan Shumaker of Livermore, California.

Mooney Mite For Sale ad in the San Francisco Chronicle of June, 1972

Fly-by at the old airstrip on Old Starr Road. 1972. This photo was taken by Dan's brother, Byron Shumaker

In 1974, Dan flew his Mite to Oshkosh hoping to see more Mites, but he was the only one there. After Oshkosh, he flew down to Vicksburg, Mississippi, then on to Marianna, Florida

New Mite owner ready to depart Santa Rosa, CA for first flight to Livermore, CA June 19,1972

Dan's son, Erik Shumaker, with the Mite 1977

One of a series of aerial photos that was taken for Monty Groves article. Copies are in the NASM archives

These photos were taken in 1994, after the 12-year restoration project

Dan has owned his 1954 Mooney M-18C since 1972. A 12-year restoration was completed in 1994. The Mite is powered by a Continental A-65 with a Beech-Roby controllable pitch propeller.

During the restoration, it was covered with Stits Poly-Fiber and finished with Stits Aerothane.  Afterwards. the aircraft had radios for the first time in its life: a Terra TX 760D and a TRT 250D. Dan said, "The small cockpit seems more cramped than it was 12 years ago, but it's good to have a 30 mile per gallon airplane to fly again."

Here is Dan's explanation of how his Mite became famous:

"I purchased this Mooney Mite in the summer of 1972. At the time, I was a graduate student at the University of Californian at Davis. I had a very good fellowship and was able to save enough to buy a small aircraft. I didn't know exactly what I wanted, but one day I saw this ad in the San Francisco Chronicle. Having never seen a Mooney Mite I drove from Livermore to Santa Rosa to see John Gripe's Mooney. I ended up buying the first Mooney Mite I saw.

"In 1974 I flew my Mite to Oshkosh to see other Mites. I had purchased the only one I had seen. As it turned out, my Mite was the only one there! I left a few days before the end of the fly-in. Monty Groves was about to write an article for American Aircraft Modeler about the Mooney Mite. He arrived at the Mite display area too late and got a nice photo of the Mooney Mite sign with no Mites present. Monty got in contact with me after he returned from Oshkosh and we arranged a photo shoot, resulting in the following photos and article.

"Unbeknownst to me, Monty had donated his negatives to the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum. A few years later when I was visiting this museum, I was really surprised to find photos of my Mite in their collection.

"Several years later, in 1999, I was again surprised to find two pictures of my Mite in Larry Ball's book, Those Remarkable Mooneys. The particular photos are on page 50 and 51 showing my Beech-Roby (Flottorp) controllable-pitch propeller and the instrument panel. Larry Ball had obtained the photos from the Smithsonian."

The following photos are selected from the large collection that Dan has published on a CD-ROM and donated to the Mite Site:

The Mite Site records show that N4142 was previously owned by Robert Longcore of San Francisco, CA from 1965-68. John W. Gripe of Palo Alto, CA from 1969-72.