Mooney Adds A Second Shift

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Can you take a classic light-airplane design, update it with a new glass cockpit and other high-tech tweaks, and find a market for it? Some observers thought it a risky venture, but it's proving to pay off for Mooney Airplane Co. In response to high demand for its new Ovation2 GX and Bravo GX airplanes, Mooney has added a second shift at its manufacturing plant in Kerrville, Texas, for the first time in 20 years, and hired 50 new workers. "The demand for the airplanes has been caused by the new Garmin G-1000 glass-panel avionics suite, the new three-bladed propeller, Mooney's obvious recovery from its financial problems, and a general improvement in the economy and the general aviation industry," J. Nelson Happy, president of parent company Mooney Aerospace Group, told The San Antonio Business Journal. Mooney also said last week that owners can qualify for insurance rates up to 70 percent lower than for comparable aircraft, due to the airplane's long operating record and safety features such as a steel roll cage and AmSafe three-point restraint systems.