Mite of the Month for May, 2004

N4161, serial number 327, is an M-18C-55, currently owned by Mike Plyler of Sherman, TX  who flies it regularly.

It is powered by a Continental A65-12-F engine with starter and generator. As well as the standard instruments, it has a wing leveler, electric VOR and gyro, rate of climb indicator, artificial horizon, and electric fuel gauge in addition to the sight gauge. The installed radio is a Terra 720-TX 250 and Terra transponder.

The above photo was taken in front of Boyd's hanger/house/maintenance shop/MITE house at Houston Southwest Airport. The ones below were taken during the second flight of N4161 when it was on the way to a MAPA Homecoming at Kerrville, TX.

Boyd Maddox, who owns an aircraft repair shop in Houston, TX and specializes in Mooneys, tells us he is particularly attached to this aircraft. It was his first end-to-end restoration project, and his favorite.  "I finished her in 1990 and she won Best of Show at the 1991 MAPA Homecoming. She was also invited to the Mooney factory for their 40th anniversary party and flew in formation over the Al Mooney Park with a current model flown by the Mooney president.

"I totally restored her over an 8 year period, adding many "tricks" such as the dorsal fin like her grown up sisters and fairings to close ALL of the holes. I had the gear doors but never put them on. She would cruise at 130 mph @ 2400 rpm all day long. I sure wish I could locate her now. One time I took her to an airshow and parked her under the wing of a TBM700 and told everyone that it was a mother and her chick."

"We kept a very detailed scrap book while we were building her along with what we called a "baby book". When we were done, we gave the "baby book" to Gordon Baxter to take to Al Mooney and have him sign it. Gordon was writing The Al Mooney Story at the time. When Gordon showed it to him, Al looked it over, and it brought back many fond memories. He then said, "You know, I have some old pictures that you might want to see." At that, he drug out a box of old pictures. Gordon looked them over, called the publisher, and put a hold on the printing of the book. That is why all of the pictures are in the middle of the book. I have copy number 16 signed by Al Mooney and Gordon Baxter. If you haven't read it, it is a must read. You will learn more about early aircraft and the people who built them that you ever thought possible. I see where MAPA has The Al Mooney Story  listed for sale."

Here are some of the owners N4161 has had over the years:

Al C. Venable of Dallas, TX in 1963
Thayne Short of New Orleans, LA in 1967.
Ray McGilvrey of Palo Alto, CA from 1969 to 1974
Tony Perez of Antioch, CA in 1982
Dee A. Maddox of Missouri City, TX from 1985 to 1994.
Jimmie Maris of Garland, TX until 2002