The Mooney production line will start moving Feb. 26 and the first new Mooney to be built in almost five years, an AcclaimTN Type S, should be ready for a flight test within days after that. Mooney CEO Dr. Jerry Chen said the production start comes after a couple of months of intense activity at the Kerrville, Texas, plant. As we reported a month ago, with an infusion of capital from its new Chinese owners, Mooney began recalling and hiring staff late last year and began taking the factory out of mothballs at the beginning of January. Chen said the resumption of production marks a new chapter in the storied life of an aviation icon. This is an important date in the history of Mooney, said Chen. There has been an extraordinary effort on the part of everyone at Mooney and I couldnt be more proud of what has been accomplished in a short amount of time.
When AVweb visited the Kerrville facility in early January, about 45 workers were busy restoring the sprawling plant to production condition. It was shut down in 2009 but a skeleton staff of eight had kept the company open to supply parts and customer support and to maintain all the aircraft certifications in the belief that production would one day resume. The five unfinished aircraft on the production line were left where they were and it will be the Acclaim at the head of that line that will be first to be completed in late February or early March. Chen said new manufacturing equipment has been added to the plant and processes will be modernized. We believe in the future of Mooney and we have a solid plan, said Chen. Otherwise we wouldnt be making such significant investments in the company.