Aircraft Welding Diaries: History of Mooney Aircraft
Knisley Welding caters to the aircraft exhaust systems of some of Mooney International Corporation’s aircraft. Let’s take a look into the brief history of Mooney and how it has come about, how it has contributed to the aircraft industry, and how it is doing now.
Mooney Aircraft: Its Foundation
Mooney started out as Mooney Aircraft Corporation in 1929. It was founded by Albert Mooney together with his brother Arthur with financing from the Bridgeport Machine Company in Wichita Kansas. In 1930, Mooney went bankrupt and the Mooneys had to work for other aircraft companies.
Albert reopened Mooney as Mooney Aircraft, Incorporated with financial help from Charles Yankey in Kerrville, Texas in 1946. In 1947, Arthur joined the new Mooney company.
The new Mooney’s first aircraft was the single-seater Mite M-18 which was also called the Texas Messerschmitt because of being identical to the Messerschmitt Bf 109, a popular German fighter aircraft used in World War II.
In 1953, Charles Yankey died of a stroke. Losing his financier, Albert had to sell his stocks to Harold Rachal and Norman Hoffman. He left and worked for Lockheed Corporation and soon thereafter, Arthur joined him too.
Under New Management
Shortly after the Mooneys left, the Mooney M20 was first produced. It was a larger version of the Mite M-18. Until now, Mooney is still producing variants of the M20 model.
In 1965, Mooney became the distributor of Mitsubishi aircraft in the United States, producing the Mooney MU-2. During this time, Mooney was called Mooney-Mitsubishi Aircraft Inc.
In 1969, Mooney went bankrupt again. Mooney was sold to American Electronics Labs, and then to Butler Aviation. However, Butler Aviation ended operations in 1971.
Republic Steel Corporation acquired the rights to Mooney in 1973, concentrating on product development. The Mooney 301 or the TBM700 was designed in order to rival the Cessna 210. Also, the M20 model was updated to create the Mooney 201 through the works of Chief of Research Engineer Roy LoPresti.
In 1984, Mooney merged with Alexander Couvelaire, a French distribution firm.
2000 to Present
Mooney became bankrupt again in 2001. It was acquired by Advanced Aerodynamics and Structures, Inc. (AASI). AASI became Mooney Aerospace Group, LTD, (MASG), and Mooney as Mooney Aircraft Company was a division of it.
MASG sold the assets of Mooney to Allen Holding Finance in May 2004. Allen Holding filed for bankruptcy in June. MASG reacquired Mooney from Allen Holding in December of the same year.
After a series of layoffs and halting of production of new aircraft, Mooney was purchased by Soaring America Corporation in 2013. With new funding, Mooney is regaining momentum and has recovered manpower and production. The new management would supply aircraft to the Chinese Market but would retain the Kerrville factory while retaining to supply parts for legacy aircraft.
For more information regarding Mooney aircraft, or if you are in need of aircraft exhaust systems, aircraft exhaust parts, or aircraft exhaust repairs for a Mooney plane, just give Knisley Welding a call and we will give you just what you need!