Mooney Will Auction Off First New Acclaim
Mooney is back, and although they didn't have a booth at Sun 'n Fun, the new executive staff arrived on Friday to meet with the faithful and the press to provide a snapshot of the new company and its plans. CEO Jerry Chen told the crowd of 100 or so in a tent behind the Florida Air Museum that he and his partners have big plans for Mooney, including expansion into global markets, though he emphasized that the facility in Kerrville, Texas, will not be going away. Those ambitious plans will be backed up with about $50 million in investment, he said, "over the foreseeable future." Right now, he said, "2014 is a year of transformation."
The Kerrville plant already has about 85 employees, and will have 140 by the end of the year. The executive staff is redesigning the production line and updating technology to be more efficient while still assuring quality workmanship. "We want to do this right, and this takes time," Chen said. The company has set a goal to reduce the build time from 4,000 hours to 2,500. Chen also announced that the very first new Acclaim Type S will be sold to the highest bidder via an online auction, and the money will be donated to a new nonprofit organization that will work to preserve Mooney history. No minimum bid will be set, he said, but bidders must be pre-qualified to participate.
Chen said the company plans to deliver six new airplanes by the end of this year, and build 30 more next year. The first two models to be produced will be the Ovation3, with a base price of $649,000, and the Acclaim, with a base price of $699,000. "Those prices include many standard features that were options before," said Tom Bowen, chief operating officer. Both airplanes are powered by Continental Gold Standard engines, and include Garmin G1000 avionics, with synthetic vision, terrain warning, and XM weather. Chen said the new nonprofit will build a museum on the Kerrville campus, "so the 80 years of Mooney history will not be lost." The organization also will raise money for scholarships and grants to preserve aviation history. The online auction for the first new Mooney is open now, he said, at the Mooney website, under the "First to Fly" tab. The auction will continue until July 11. The winning bidder then can come to the Mooney exhibit at EAA AirVenture at Oshkosh and take delivery in a special ceremony. "The winner will then become a key part of Mooney history," Chen said.