AVweb's special coverage of the Sun 'n Fun air show in Lakeland, Florida, continues. Watch for more, Friday.
Once the undisputed leader in high performance, Mooney was not too long ago sent to the canvas by that vexing mix of product liability, recession and management unable to overcome the challenges of the day. It soon re-emerged as the bastard child of a promoter's nightmare, and seemed destined to fall again and maybe for good. But now it's back ... Bigtime. Mooney CEO Gretchen Jahn made clear that her team believes Mooney is a manufacturer for the ages and is no longer content to rest on the laurels of 130 speed records and 11,000 aircraft sold. We told you Monday there were rumors of a new Mooney. Tuesday we found out what that meant. Mooney has mated its basic planform with a new engine and says the offspring leaves composite upstarts wallowing in its slipstream. Simply put, if Jahn wasn't reading the glass displays wrong on the way to Sun 'n Fun, the new turbonormalized Mooney Acclaim may soon look to claim title as the fastest certified piston single out there. It may also have the longest legs. Based on the attitude of the Mooney folks who did the highly-theatrical unveiling of what, to all the world, looked like a Bravo with a fancy paint job, it was clear something was up. Mooney staff, looking cool while dressed in black (it felt like 80-degrees in the shade, today), pulled the black cover from the plane to reveal Hahn in the cockpit. It was different, it was fun -- and it was not at all like the reserved atmosphere that has hung over Mooney news conferences for the past five years. We've grown used to the succession of CEOs promising the Mooney of old and failing. This was fresh and there was a tangible essence that it was something special.