Mite of the Month, May 2002
We are featuring Jim Bergo's N4178 this month. It's a 1955 Mooney Mite M-18C-55 model, serial number 343.
Jim, who lives in Minot, North Dakota, flew his Mite 60 hours last year, in his words,"tearing up the territory." His adventures included a caravan flight with the Montana Antique Air Tour which went as far north as Castlegar, British Columbia in July. We had the good fortune to meet Jim at Nelson, BC on the way.
This Ceconite-covered airplane is always hangared. In 1984, it was stripped down to the wood, varnished, metal-sanded, primed and painted with Imron in white with Peking Orange trim. As a C-55, it has the larger bubble canopy. It sports nice-looking extras such as chrome valve covers and gear doors. What you can't see are the new pistons, bearings, and mag harness. It was annualed in March, 2002 and all notams have been complied with. The total time on the air frame and engine is 1785 hours.
As you can see in the photo, the cockpit is done mainly in black — black naugahyde upholstery, black pile carpets and panels. It has basic VFR instrumentation plus an electric turn and bank, a venturi-vacuum gyro horizon, and a gas gauge in the panel. The fighter-style control stick holds the push-to-talk button for the Val Com 760 radio.
N4178 is powered by a Continental A65-12. The integral 12 voltgenerator and electric system allows running and landing lights. With a metal prop it cruises at 95 - 110 knots burning eighty octane or regular unleaded auto fuel at 4 to 5 gallons-per-hour. At that rate, it has a range of 300 miles on its thirteen gallon main fuel tank alone, but it also has a 5 gallon auxiliary tank. According to "The Book", it'll climb 1,000 ft. per minute and has a ceiling of 21,000 ft.
The Mite Site records show that N4178 was once owned by:
Tom Dillon of Fort Lauderdale, FL in 1969.
J.D. Brown of Hemingway, SC in 1967-68.
Fred Bennett of Blairsville, GA in 1974
And we always appreciate email such as the one Clyde Cheek sent, to tell us the Mite's owner was Luther Johnson of Johnson's Flying Service in Greenville, SC, where Clyde was employed from mid-1955 till early 1958.