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Better Than New: The Full Refurbishment of N205J


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@carusoam I actually started a video last year flying with Dad to Sedona, AZ and back.  Got to Fayetteville, AR, Dad had some bad Mexican food, was up all night.  We turned around and flew home.  Only videoed the trip out.  Nothing worth sharing.

I think the next video I’m going to do is running through all of the features of the GFC 500 in flight.

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6 hours ago, Rmag said:

@carusoam I actually started a video last year flying with Dad to Sedona, AZ and back.  Got to Fayetteville, AR, Dad had some bad Mexican food, was up all night.  We turned around and flew home.  Only videoed the trip out.  Nothing worth sharing.

I think the next video I’m going to do is running through all of the features of the GFC 500 in flight.

First mistake was eating any Mexican food North of Austin, TX :D

I've enjoyed this thread. Nice to see how you can bring an airplane into the 21st Century.


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On 4/1/2021 at 12:58 AM, Rmag said:

I think the next video I’m going to do is running through all of the features of the GFC 500 in flight.

Posting the video here for posterity...


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  • 2 weeks later...
3 hours ago, Eastern mooney 201 said:

Hello.where did you buy your carpet. It was done localy or does it come from  another supplier. Is nylon or featherweight.


Custom cut wool carpet.

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  • 5 months later...
On 4/19/2017 at 10:57 PM, Rmag said:

 Better than New:

The Refurbishment of N205J

Mooney N205J is a 1987 M20J model “205 Special Edition (SE)”.  It differed from other M20J “201’s” at the time in that it incorporated a few changes:  

1.       Fully enclosed gear doors

2.       Rounded window lines

3.       28 volt electrical system

4.       Electric cowl flaps with infinite adjustment

5.       Upturned wingtips with forward facing recognition lights and aft facing position lights

6.       Gear extension speed increased from 132 to 140 knots

The 205 SE came right as the general aviation market was in decline, so only seventy-seven 205 SE’s were built spanning two years.

N205J was previously owned by a business associate of ours.  N205J was hangar kept most of its life.  It had original factory avionics, paint, and interior and was a low time aircraft with only 1885.5 hours.  It had Precise Flight Speed Brakes installed.

So why did we put so much money into a 1987 Mooney?  I am one of the owners of SureFlight Aircraft Completions which specializes in paint, interiors, and avionics.  We made it a “project plane”.  We worked on it when we had any gaps in our schedule.  Now that it is complete, we have a demonstration plane to show and fly customers that showcases SureFlight’s capabilities.   It’s an awesome Mooney to fly!

First stop was Henry Weber Mooney Authorized Service Center at neighboring KLNS to perform the pre-purchase inspection.  The important thing for us was to have a good airframe and engine to start with.  We took care of some maintenance on the airframe, overhauled the prop, bought a new governor, put new gear shock discs in, etc.  We had them complete an annual at the time as well.

We had the engine sent out to Columbia Aircraft Services for an Inspect and Replace as Needed (“IRAN”) which included new Camshaft, Lifters, Bearings and Rings.  While it was there, we had the engine converted from the Lycoming IO-360-A3B6D to the IO-360-A3B6 specification to eliminate the D3000 dual magnetos in a single housing, driven by a single driveshaft.  The engine now has two separate fully independent Bendix magnetos.  We had the cylinders removed to be sent out for nickel plating.



After the engine came back, Henry Weber reinstalled it with new Lord mounts and made sure that the engine and engine cowlings were properly aligned.

We added GAMIjectors calibrated fuel injection nozzles and then went to work on the full refurbishment of N205J.




 The aircraft was equipped with a factory original avionics suite from 1986, except the addition of an Apollo GPS.


It all came out. 


All the wiring was removed and replaced.  A plastic panel is created to make sure everything looks correct before fabricating the metal:


Yokes are painted black and a metal panel is installed:


And then filled with equipment:

·         Fully Electronic panel; Eliminated Vacuum System

·         Garmin G500 flight deck with Synthetic Vision

·         Garmin GAD 43e autopilot interface for G500

·         Garmin GTN 750 GPS/Nav/Comm Navigator with Telligence Voice Control

·         Garmin GMA 35c Bluetooth enabled remote audio panel

·         Garmin GTX 345R ADS-B In/Out remote transponder

·         Garmin GNC 255 Nav/Comm

·         King KFC-150 autopilot (the only thing that remained from the old panel)

·         L3 Avionics ESI-500 Standby Instrument with:  Altitude, Attitude, Slip/skid, Vertical speed, Aircraft track, Synthetic Vision option, Navigation option. Magnetic heading option.

·         JP Instruments EDM 930 Primary computer for RPM, Manifold Pressure, Oil, Fuel, Battery, Engine data.

·         AirGizmos iPad Mini 4 panel dock

·         Nimbus Aviation Electroluminescent Circuit Breaker overlay.

·         ACK E-04 GPS Emergency Locator Transmitter

·         Guardian Aero 451-101 Panel Mount CO Detector

·         MidContinent MD93 Digital Clock/USB Charger.




 We painted a new King Air 300 for the Mayo Clinic earlier in 2016.  We loved their colors.  We knew that these would be the colors we would eventually use on the Mooney.


Stripping:  Everything that is not stripped is covered in foil.



Windows are removed to be replaced with Great Lakes Aero Windows SC (Solar Control) Grey installed with Extra thick .250” windshield.



All flight controls and gear doors are removed to be painted separately, airframe is etched and alodined in preparation for epoxy primer.


After primer, an Axalta White Pearl base color is applied. N205J is painted in all Pearlescent paint which requires a clearcoat after each color is applied.  This is one of the reasons pearlescent paints cost more.


Paint Scheme Layout:


Axalta Cumulous Grey Pearl is applied to undercarriage, wheel wells, airframe, and then clearcoated.


Axalta Sable Pearl accent stripes are applied and then clearcoated.


Final Prep for the Axalta Dark Blue Pearl:


After all the pearlescent colors are applied and clearcoated, exterior placarding is applied, and the entire aircraft is re-sanded for a final overall layer of clearcoat.  This gives the airplane a wet, glossy look and deepens the color, smooths edge lines between accent stripes, seals the placards, and it also provides a more durable and cleanable finish because you do not cut into the color when polishing.




Flight controls are hung and painted separately:


Cowlings and access panels are installed with new stainless steel hardware.


Flight controls are balanced and then reinstalled.




Unfortunately, we forgot to get some good “before pics” of the interior.  It had blue velour seats with aged and yellowing plastic panels.




Old seat covers off.


Repaint the seat frames.


New covers sewn for the new foam buildups.


Upholstered seats with custom Mooney Logo headrests.


We repaired cracks in several of the plastics, and repainted with a textured paint to hide any old imperfections.  We decided against covering the panels in ultra-leather to save weight.


We fabricated a hatch behind the hole for the windshield bar that holds the compass for easy R&R of the glare shield.  Painted a flat textured black.  Looks like new.


The interior goes back together with repainted plastics, new carpet, new door seals, and new upholstered seats.







After it was all complete, we put the aircraft on scales.  The new weight and balance was 17 lbs lighter than before.  We also performed the gross weight increase to increase the gross weight from 2,740 to 2,900 giving the aircraft a new useful load of 988 lbs.

Mooney N205J – Ready for Takeoff!



Update 6/21/2018

Since Garmin came out with the G500 TXi we updated the Mooney by removing the Garmin G500 and JPI EDM 930 and replacing it with the G500 TXi with integrated Engine Information System (EIS).

Here are photos of the conversion:










EDIT for 2021:  L-3 ESI 500 removed and replaced with Garmin GI 275 backup instrument and a Garmin GFC 500 Autopilot. 




i am upgrading my M20J MSE 1993, with G3X and G5 on the central panel, i am looking for the aluminium central panel to be build. Since you have done it for your airplane and have the experience, would it be possible to purchase one from your company?

Thanks in advance


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@jetdriven For me it was because I already had everything installed before the autopilot upgrade.  So we just used the same location that the KFC 150 was in.  Didn't want to pay for the time and expense to drill out rivets and reconfigure my avionics stack just to put the AP up top.  But if it was a full install I think I would put it there.

I think more people are putting them in the top stack because new aircraft are putting them there, and the new AP's are used for heading, altitude, climbs, descents, etc. functional control knobs that are used frequently in flight.  If you have a larger glass PDF you have nice size AP mode annunciations, but if you are flying G5's or GI 275's it probably is nice to have the AP control head in a more visible spot so you can see which mode lights are illuminated.  That being said, I have not had any problems or regrets having it in the bottom of the stack.  It is easily accessible there.

I would guess people putting it on the right side are only doing it because they ran out of space to put it somewhere better.  I wouldn't purposely put it there.

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On 11/17/2021 at 11:32 AM, jetdriven said:

I see folks putting the GFC500 controller at the bottom of the stack and I see them at the top and I see them on the right stack as well. I’m curious the decision matrix that drove you to put it at the bottom

I put mine at the bottom. Three reasons: The KAP 150 was there so I was used to it. In turbulence, I don't have to raise my arm so high to reach the controls. It ended up putting the knobs in line horizontally with the G3X knobs which I found pleasing.


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  • 6 months later...
54 minutes ago, Rmag said:

Somebody I knew got wind that I was going to be selling and his friend gave me what I wanted for it before it ever had a chance to hit the market.

If you dont me asking, around what does a prestine J sell for?

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I believe N205J is the queen of the fleet for M20J’s.  In this market, most buyers have to come up to the seller’s asking price on the good planes.  I had to do that to buy the plane that replaced N205J. Next Friday will be the first video in the new plane.  There is a hint in the above video what the new plane is.

I don’t think I want to openly discuss what the sale price was on this forum.  The buyer may be reading this as well.  Chances are the price will be too high, or too low for opinions here and discussing it here is either make me feel like I could’ve got more, or him feel like he overpaid.  Right now we both feel good about the transaction.

I did sell for more than that controller post above.  But N205J was a 1987 205 SE with 2,340 hours.  It’s worth more than a 1978 201 with 3,075 hours, all else held constant.


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[mention=9886]Marauder[/mention] the above footage is a familiar location for you…

Sure does look familiar

I have heard 205J on the frequency a few times but haven’t met the new owner yet. I don’t recognize him so he must be new to the airport.

For those who haven’t seen rmag’s former J, it is a sight to behold.

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk Pro
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14 hours ago, Marauder said:

Sure does look familiar emoji6.png

I have heard 205J on the frequency a few times but haven’t met the new owner yet. I don’t recognize him so he must be new to the airport.

For those who haven’t seen rmag’s former J, it is a sight to behold.

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk Pro

He’s located at your drome? Put on the burgers 

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