Mooney Mite vs. FAA Sport Pilot Category

I have just returned from board meetings at EAA, at which we discussed among other things the new FAA sport pilot category.

The significance of this proposal is that pilots that fly aircraft that meet these light plane requirements would have to have either a 3rd class medical certificate or a valid drivers license. This is a very far reaching proposal which would give hope to all of us that are getting to the age that passing the medical is a concern.

I am attaching a summary of the proposed new FAA sport pilot//light plane requirements to the Mite's specs. Except for the prohibition on retractable gear aircraft, it looks to me like the Mite would qualify. This means that when the proposal is finally published for public comment we need to get all Mite owners prepared to offer written comments. EAA's guess is that the proposal will be published in February (that is what the FAA is saying, also) or the latest in early March.

Submitted by Mal Gross

FAA Sport Pilot Proposal
With Analysis of Impact on the Mooney Mite
As of November 15, 2000

Criteria Limit Mite specs Notes
Max gross weight (2 place) 1232 n/a
Max gross weight (1 place) unknown 850 Per EAA, likely to be above 850 lbs
Vso (defined as stall speed or minimum steady flight speed in the landing configuration) 39 kts
44.93 mph
45 mph The summary I have of CAA Type Certificate for A-803 does not list a stall speed. Mooney literature of that day showed stall speed as 43 mph. The CAA approved flight manual for N4187 shows: "power off, stall speed flaps & gear down" = 45 mph." Presumably with gear retracted, but flaps down, the stall speed would be less than 45mph. EAA representative saw no problem for the Mite.
Max cruise speed 110 kts
127.6 mph
114 mph ok. Yellow caution arc on airspeed indicator is at 120 mph
Unpowered or single engine <2 engines single ok
Unpressurized ok
occupants or less 2 1 ok
Retractable landing gear Not allowed If this prohibition is not removed, this would eliminate the Mite unless the owner wanted to disable the retraction mechanism.


The Mite clearly meets all criteria except for the retractable landing gear prohibition. If EAA is unable to get the FAA to reconsider, we will all have to submit comment letters once the final proposal is published.

15 November, 2000