Sun 'n Fun Wrap-Up...
Less Hype, More Business
The weather was perfect, the demos, attractions and air-show performers first-rate, but there appeared a muting to the "buzz" this year at Sun 'n Fun, which ends today in Lakeland, Fla. Maybe show-goers are just waiting for yesterday's promises to come true. Presently, the very light jet manufacturers are not yet rolling production models off the line and otherwise exciting alternative engines are still in development and/or making slow headway in a conservative market. That aside, the industry in its present state appeared strong and positive. Most of the manufacturers and suppliers we spoke with say business is good and getting better. Cirrus is looking at expansion, Lancair can't hire people fast enough and Piper will be back at full strength in six weeks. And among those looking forward to a good year is Mooney, which came with statistics to back that up.
In its third or fourth incarnation in as many years, Mooney is showing signs of the stability and resources needed to capitalize on the continuing upswing in the GA sector. To punctuate the company's belief that updates on a proven design (that may have been ahead of its time) make the Mooney a contender against the new designs that have emerged in recent years, Mooney executives believe they set a record on the flight from their Kerrville, Texas, headquarters to Lakeland on April 9. The G1000-equipped Bravo carrying Assembly Manager Joe Kortsch and Marketing Director Roger Munt covered the 963 miles in four hours and 10 minutes for an average speed of 230 knots, using about 80 gallons of fuel. Mooney says it delivered 20 new airplanes in the first quarter of this year. We're not sure how many went to dealers, but Mooney says that's double the number for the same period last year and it expects that pace to continue.