Mite of the Month for March, 2004

N4159, serial number 325, was built in Mooney's Kerrville, Texas factory in 1955. Its new owner is Keith Mackey of Ocala, Florida.

The photo on the left was taken in 1965 at Cable Airport, Upland, California.

Above, Phil Harbaugh in the pilot's seat in the mid 1960's. Between 1966 and 1969, Phil flew the ship over 500 hours.

Keith acquired these three photos from previous owner, Phil Harbaugh, showing the Mite back when it was still flying.

In May of 1969, N4159 was grounded, at 830 hours TT, due to bad fabric. It was stored indoors in California with the engine run periodically until 1992 when it was moved to Arcanuma, Ohio.

Thanks to Keith's efforts, the Mite Site has a complete record of the airplane's history, as taken from the Aircraft log and Maintenance record, and Phil's personal log book. We are very pleased to have copies of this rare documentation.

Here are some excerpts:

Phil kept a detailed personal log book which outlines his 500+ hours spent in the Mite. He made many cross-country flights:

We know of few other Mite pilots that have made so many long cross-country flights.

N4159 was stored in this partially heated garage in Arcanuma until February, 2004 when it was purchased by Keith Mackey and transported to Ocala, Florida for rebuild.

We understand that Mrs. Harbaugh was very pleased to have the Mite removed from the garage after twelve years!

A good friend of Keith's, Les King, picked the Mite up at Harbaugh's in his truck and brought it home to North Lawrence, Ohio, where it resided for a week before leaving for Ocala. Les drove the truck (which has been all over the U.S., Canada and Mexico carrying motorcars), down via Charlotte, NC and Columbia, SC. to Ocala with his wife, Cindy, for a few days of vacation. The rig has a 28' main deck length. The Mite wing fit perfectly along with a tail cone for Walter Dix, N4057.

Inspection has revealed no rotten wood at all and only a few loose glue joints.

Keith has assisted the Mite Site greatly, sending us our first photos of this airplane, as well as copies of the logs and technical documents.

Rescuing this Mite from oblivion will require a lot of work, but from the enthusiasm and effort Keith as shown so far, we know he will make a success of the project.

The only things added to this Mite were a Turn & Bank and prop spinner, which Keith has. The original altimeter was replaced with a Sensitive Altimeter. Other than that, it is stock. The ship has a Continental A-65-8, but Keith got a -12 engine from Fred Schmidt which will enable him to install an electrical system.

Keith says, "The ship is strictly original. Original fabric (which is now in shreds), original paint, instrument panel, interior and upholstery, paperwork all complete etc. Of course, it is the old story of the airplane found in a barn."

Here are the pictures of it in his shop after unloading. The aircraft was grounded due to bad fabric in 1969.

In summary, here is the complete list of owners of N4159:

Stuart Shargel, Chicago, 1955 - 1956.
Harold Little, Moses Lake, WA, 1956 - 1964.
James Habele, Montclair, CA, 1964 - 1965.
Philip Harbaugh, Pasadena, CA, and Arcanuma, OH, 1965 - 2004.
Keith Mackey, Ocala, FL, 2004 -

As for the artist's watercolor (15" x 20") of N4159 displayed on our Front Page, all we know is that on the back there is a card which says, "Ron Lawless Old Car "Nut" & Artist San Gabriel Calif." Anyone out there know more about him?