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  1. I used to work at the Mooney factory. I recall an applicable story that was told there. I'm probably forgetting some details, but you get the idea. Al Mooney had said before he died that when he did die, he wanted his ashes scattered from an M20 over the factory. The person who was to fly his M20 over the factory and scatter the ashes would often perform a low flyover at his friend's house who had a grass strip. When the M20 would do the low flyover, the friend would know the M20 was going to land and stay for a visit. Al Mooney died, the factory employees gathered, the M20 carrying Al's ashes flew over. Right over the factory he tried to dump the ashes out the storm window. They all flew back inside, all over the pilot and all over the inside of the airplane. On the way home from the factory, the M20 buzzed his friend's house. The friend went out to meet the M20 and pilot. The pilot got out and asked his friend for a shop vac.
  2. In addition to these great concept-stopping points, how do you assemble this fuselage and keep things accessible for maintenance? If you retain the tubular structure and the non-structural aluminum fuselage skins, and put inside the tubular structure a carbon pressure vessel, you have to be able to install it somehow. As mentioned above, it can't just be an airtight membrane; it has to react pressure loads (which are tremendous) by means of hoop stress, otherwise it pushes out on the tubular structure which it isn't designed for. So the carbon pressure vessel has to be a rigid structure. How do you get this rigid structure (that is just smaller than the tubular structure) inside of the tubular structure? You can't. You also can't weld the tubular structure around the carbon pressure vessel. And spacesuits cost a gazillion bucks.
  3. I almost mentioned that (replacing metal skins with carbon fiber). The (main) issue there is still the tubular structure. It wouldn't make sense to have the cabin structure be the tubular structure, then have a structural carbon fiber shell over the outside of that to hold cabin pressure. At that point you might as well combine the two functions into just a carbon fuselage structure. None of the composite airplanes with structural exterior skins have an interior steel tube structure. There's a reason no one does that (Cirrus, Diamond, Lancair, Columbia, Epic, etc). Then if you are doing that you might as well integrate the aluminum tailcone into the carbon cabin structure. Then you have a whole new fuselage and it isn't even the same airplane anymore. Also, the sides of the M20 fuselage are pretty flat which is anti-good for pressurization. Note the Glasair Sportsman has a tubular steel fuselage structure with a non-structural fiberglass shell, not unlike the M20U/V. However, on the Sportman, the structural tailcone is integrated with the non-structural fuselage skin. An approach like that might make more sense. But of course the Sportsman isn't pressurized. Either way, that would require a monumental effort and you'd be better off starting over and optimizing. But yes, it is fun to talk about and dream!
  4. Short answer is no. Long answer is sure, it's possible with enough time (time=money) and more money. But it wouldn't make sense. There are aluminum brackets that rivet between the tubular structure and the fuselage skins. So you couldn't place the pressurize-able carbon "tube" between the tubular structure and aluminum fuselage skins; it would have to go inside in the tubular structure. Then interior volume would decrease substantially. And you would add weight. And you have to worry about things like windows, flight control and wiring penetrations, pressurization source, bleed valves, pressurization control system, etc. If you went this route you'd end up with a very expensive, heavy, complicated airplane with enough room for 1.3 midgets. You would be ahead in time, money, and functionality to start over from scratch, at least regarding the fuselage. You'd be further ahead if you bought a TBM, Epic, or Evolution.
  5. Carusoam, I was at the first showing of Boots on the Ground at the Dugosh hangar. Really neat! There is another engineer at Air Tractor that used to work for Mooney and I let him borrow my Boots on the Ground DVD. He also thought it was very cool and good to remember the faces he used to work with. Yes, it is a very small world/industry. I have discovered mutual acquaintances and connections at/between each of the three aircraft companies I have worked for (Mooney, Stratos Aircraft in Central Oregon, and now Air Tractor). Oshkosh seems to be where we usually all bump into each other. I agree that is is already good to maintain friendships! Stephan
  6. I’m a non-Mooney owner. I own a 1951 Cessna 170A and am getting my private it in. Have just a few more hours to go. I would like to have a Mooney someday. I worked at Mooney as an engineer from late-2013 right after the Chinese bought them to mid-2017 when I started seeing the writing on the wall. Now I’m an engineer at Air Tractor. Even though I’m not a Mooney owner I enjoy this site because there is lots of good Mooney and general aviation information available. I also like reading about what is happening at the factory when those posts arise. I’ve made but a few posts since 2013, but check the forum almost daily. I dislike the drama and general internet pettiness that is often associated with internet forums. It is so much sometimes that I contemplate never returning here and in turn missing out on all of the good information available just to not see the drama. Stephan
  7. In my opinion (I know the saying about opinions), the price of the airplane isn't the problem. An SR22/SR22T is in the same ballpark price and they are selling plenty of them. Yes, if new Mooneys were less expensive that would help, but it isn't the main problem. If the factory invested heavily in the things required to reduce the cost of the airplane and brought the price of the airplane down by $100,000, would that many more be sold? My opinion is no. If the factory labor rate is $50/hr, then to reduce the price of the airplane by $100,000 by reduction of labor cost alone, you have to take 2000 hours of labor out of the build. Ain't gonna happen. If the factory invests in widgets/processes to cut time out of the production process the price of the airplane is still going to be well north of $500,000 (or $600 or $700k). Cost of the materials and purchased parts don't change. Don't forget the cost associated with developing and approving new process specs. To make some of the really labor intensive tasks less labor intensive, one could think of things like (ignore feasibility): automated spar buildup, tubular structure robotically welded, replacing complex multi-piece weldments with lesser parts-count machinings (gear legs, misc bellcranks, brackets, etc). To accomplish this would require oodles of money to be invested. To recoup the cost associated with all of this means you need to either: sell A LOT of airplanes, or sell fewer airplanes (but still a lot) with a bigger price tag. Either one probably isn't in the cards. Even with the fiberglass shell there are still lots of handmade/hand-formed/labor intensive parts. Sure, lots of it could be redesigned to yield an easier/quicker-to-build airplane, but by the time you've done all that redesign you might as well design a new airplane from scratch because the cost will be similar. Example, at the last company I worked for we decided to stretch the fuselage of the airplane we were working on. The stretch caused many many other things to be redesigned. The new version of the parts may have looked similar to the old version but they were different. The time/cost to do the redesign was not far off from the time/cost it took to do design the original version. Similar concept here, I think. Veronica and friends poured lots of money into the factory with lots of it going to new and faster machines and equipment. A good effort, but look where it has ended up. I don't know the solution is to Mooney's woes, but I know what isn't, which is spending lots of money to automate production to bring the price of the airplane down by 10% (or even 20%).
  8. Try Berg Air in Madras. If they don't have one they probably know one. Or Leading Edge in Bend or Hillsboro in Redmond? Not to hijack the thread, but where are you located? I'm in Madras. Just bought a C170 to finish my private in. Up until a year ago I was an engineer at the Mooney factory in Texas. Maybe we can meet up and talk airplanes. Stephan
  9. Berg Air in Madras? If they can't do it they may know someone/some place who can.
  10. My $.02: I grew up very interested in airplanes and all other things mechanical. I frequented airshows and airplane museums, but didn't have parents or family who were in aviation or had an airplane or flew. Wanted to be a pilot for as far back as I can remember. Took some lessons between high school and college, which prompted me to want to be a pilot even more, then went to college, majoring in flight and airplane mechanics. Would have come out with commercial, CFI, CFII, multi, etc, and A&P. After about 1.5 years of that I realized I didn't want to fly for a living. This was mostly due to my realization that most all the "cool" aviation jobs only come after tens of thousands of hours and years in the field or military, neither of which I wanted to do. Call me ill-informed and/or impatient. So I switched to mechanical engineering. Spent my last four years at Mooney in Kerrville, and recently moved to Stratos Aircraft in Oregon. I get to merge my interest in mechanical engineering with airplanes. It's the ideal combination for me. I am financially comfortable enough to fly as a hobby now, and even own a Luscombe, Taylorcraft, etc. All that to say, it may be something he wants to do for a career, but do not rule out keeping it in the back pocket as a future hobby in case he decides it is not actually want he wants to do for a living.
  11. Oh no problem. Good video and very cool to see the history of the company and people even long before I was born. I've started reading Those Remarkable Mooneys but don't yet have a copy of The Al Mooney Story. The history of Mooney is fascinating (to a nerd), as I'm sure all airplane OEMs' history are.
  12. Carusoam, Thanks, I've seen it, and even own a copy! I was at the Homecoming when they first showed it. I don't recall any info of Art or Als' kids in the movie. I may need to re-watch it. Mooneymite, Thanks, this is the sort of info I was looking for. Curious if any of the family was involved with the company after Art and Al left Mooney. It is interesting to see how much kids do/do not follow in the footsteps of their parents regarding career. I certainly did not; my dad was a wildlife biologist. Steve, Don't own a Mooney, though would like to some day. Don't have PPL yet. On and off (mostly off) working on it as time/money/interest permits. More likely candidate for airplane for me would be Luscombe, Taylorcraft, Champ, etc. Would be purely a hobby and already have other expensive hobbies so would need to keep it fairly low cost. I live in Kerrville and am an engineer at the factory. Since I work at the factory and enjoy airplanes, I am naturally interested in reading the forums dedicated to the airplanes we build. Stephan
  13. Hello all, First post here. Mostly a lurker Wondering if any of the Mooney family is still around? Were any of Art and Als' kids/family involved with the factory? Purely curious. Thanks, Stephan Nelle
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