chinoguym20

Factory Closed Down?

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9 minutes ago, chinoguym20 said:

Anyone know what’s going on?

The Mooney factory?

@mike_elliott is our insider, maybe he knows the status.

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yesterday, the employees were all given a one week furlough. They were told to report back to work a week from Monday. I had to cancel a flight to there next week yesterday, and there will be "others" at the factory. I did not post anything as this really isn't my place to speculate or comment yet.

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Sadly, can't say I didn't see this coming.  Too few sold; too high price.

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I keep proposing "two week to fly"  kit plane type program.  The money is in the dies and patterns.

Edited by Yetti
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On 11/9/2019 at 7:56 AM, mike_elliott said:

yesterday, the employees were all given a one week furlough. They were told to report back to work a week from Monday. I had to cancel a flight to there next week yesterday, and there will be "others" at the factory. I did not post anything as this really isn't my place to speculate or comment yet.

Think about the timing....supposedly only temporarily closing the factory for one week so that they can open back up for a few days before closing again for the Thanksgiving holiday?  Really??   Perhaps the Chinese owners were trying to make this appear believable that it is only temporary but "somehow" they forgot that Thanksgiving is an American tradition and major holiday.  Sadly I fear this will be a long shutdown (again). This could be really bad news for anyone with anything newer than a J model.

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Just now, 1980Mooney said:

Think about the timing....supposedly only temporarily closing the factory for one week so that they can open back up for a few days before closing again for the Thanksgiving holiday?  Really??   Perhaps the Chinese owners were trying to make this appear believable that it is only temporary but "somehow" they forgot that Thanksgiving is an American tradition and major holiday.  Sadly I fear this will be a long shutdown (again). This could be really bad news for anyone with anything newer than a J model.

I suspect you are absolutely right.

But hoping...that they are simply trying to balance the work force against the current orders and that one week furlough is simply that, reflecting they have more personal than orders to fill at the moment.  Still not good but perhaps not that they are currently about to close down immediately.

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5 minutes ago, 1980Mooney said:

This could be really bad news for anyone with anything newer than a J model.

Why would it be worse news for those with anything newer than a J model? Older airplanes have older parts which might be harder to come by.

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I wonder how labor vs. raw materials/out-sourced parts vs. interior vs. avionics breaks down.  Maybe Mooney could build 'green' airplanes (airworthy) and owners could fly them to their interior and avionics shops as they see fit.

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28 minutes ago, LANCECASPER said:

Why would it be worse news for those with anything newer than a J model? Older airplanes have older parts which might be harder to come by.

The J model had the highest production run and the existing fleet is the largest.  Third party suppliers are more likely to have part inventory or have the specs to build parts. Through Mooney's numerous past bankruptcies,  ownership changes and prolonged factory shutdowns it seems that more of the design specs, jig specs, etc for the J found their way out of the company and are in the hands of suppliers, welding shops, etc.   Most of the fleet is simple 12 volt.  And there are more salvageable parts out there.  It is the most "open source" of all the models.

The newer models were built in very short production runs and incorporated many changes.  Some of the parts are rather unique.  If you owned your Mooney during the 2001 or 2008-2010 bankruptcies/factory shutdowns you know that some planes were grounded for excessive periods due to lack of parts even though  there was quite big inventory in the hands of distributors at that time. This time is worse because many distributors like Lasar have cleared out their parts inventories. 

Resale values will plummet like they did before which hurts newer planes more than J's which are already low and depreciated down.  Mooney only claimed to GAMA to have sold 4 planes in the first 6 months of 2019 and who would risk $800k on a new plane that may not be realistically supported now?  

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42 minutes ago, MikeOH said:

I wonder how labor vs. raw materials/out-sourced parts vs. interior vs. avionics breaks down.  Maybe Mooney could build 'green' airplanes (airworthy) and owners could fly them to their interior and avionics shops as they see fit.

Mooney's in house upholstery shop can probably produce an interior for as low of an internal cost as any shop since the people working there have only done Mooneys for years. Their interior shop could do upgrades for existing owners and make a good profit - but they have never really promoted that well. Currently the company doesn't seem to have any clear direction.

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28 minutes ago, 1980Mooney said:

The J model had the highest production run and the existing fleet is the largest.

According to the Wikipedia Oracle, more C models were built than any other.  

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mooney_M20

Far more pre-J aircraft were built than all the J and later models combined.   The “center of mass” for Mooney production is about 1972. 

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This is why I bought everything I thought I might need, such as my Charlie weights. 
@FloridaMan would you please share your list of parts you purchased? I was just talking with my wife about buying critical items if the factory reopens briefly...

Others, what would you include in your factory only critical parts list?

Alex

Sent from my Pixel 3 XL using Tapatalk

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Pretty much just the Charlie weights for the tail (m20k) and I did the same with purchasing the max gross STC from Rocket. I didn’t care to get either right away, but I’m a firm believer in making hay while the sun shines when there’s a chance something will go offline. 

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I’ve been looking at J’s and I’m wondering if I should put my search on hold until this factory situation unfolds? For the sake of the employees and Mooney owners I sure hope this works out. But considering this won’t be the first time Mooney has been faced with this it makes me question if this brand is the best long term purchase? Unquestionably these airplanes are the best bang for the buck and their following is second to none, but I’d hate for such a large investment becoming obsolete in 10 years because of lack of parts? Shoot away..

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4 minutes ago, Ken4741 said:

I’ve been looking at J’s and I’m wondering if I should put my search on hold until this factory situation unfolds? For the sake of the employees and Mooney owners I sure hope this works out. But considering this won’t be the first time Mooney has been faced with this it makes me question if this brand is the best long term purchase? Unquestionably these airplanes are the best bang for the buck and their following is second to none, but I’d hate for such a large investment becoming obsolete in 10 years because of lack of parts? Shoot away..

IMHO it shouldn't make any difference in your search, timeline, or plans, but that's just me.   It's pretty rare for J's to need parts from the factory, in my observation, anyway, and even if the factory were completely abandoned, somebody may come buy the assets for pennies on the dollar and sell parts and make airplanes again or whatever.    There are quite a few makes and models of airplanes out there that don't have factories any more, and factories/brands/etc., change hands with fair regularity.

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1 hour ago, EricJ said:

IMHO it shouldn't make any difference in your search, timeline, or plans, but that's just me.   It's pretty rare for J's to need parts from the factory, in my observation, anyway, and even if the factory were completely abandoned, somebody may come buy the assets for pennies on the dollar and sell parts and make airplanes again or whatever.    There are quite a few makes and models of airplanes out there that don't have factories any more, and factories/brands/etc., change hands with fair regularity.

Hopefully you’re right.  I needed a trim tube for my F a couple years ago after it wore through the phenolic blocks.  Factory was the only place to get it and they had to make me a new one.  You never know what you need until you need it.

I’m sure there are used parts out there on scrapyard airplanes, but having the ability to make new parts once in a while is definitely a plus.

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I don't think the problem is selling airplanes. And that is a surprise to me. But evidently, according to a few guys out there selling new Mooneys, they are selling everything available. The problem seems to be that they can't make them fast enough. When everything is done by hand and they can only produce 6 airplanes in a year, the numbers don't add up. 

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8 minutes ago, EricJ said:

IMHO it shouldn't make any difference in your search, timeline, or plans, but that's just me.   It's pretty rare for J's to need parts from the factory, in my observation, anyway, and even if the factory were completely abandoned, somebody may come buy the assets for pennies on the dollar and sell parts and make airplanes again or whatever.    There are quite a few makes and models of airplanes out there that don't have factories any more, and factories/brands/etc., change hands with fair regularity.

It's one thing if you have owned the same Mooney for 20 years like me.  It's another thing if you are trying to buy any plane that has 40+ years of history which may or may not be fully documented and apparent in the maintenance logs or visible in the pre-buy.  There will be always be "surprises" in the first annual after purchase of a used plane.  And while ordinary use may not cause much need for factory airframe parts, an unexpected incident may. 

Its true that Mooney's are rugged but some things like the push rod/control tubes or landing gear push/pull tubes can only be sourced from Mooney if I am not mistaken.  The Heim bearings wear or seize over time or the tubes may suffer from hidden corrosion.  The old style rods have the rod-end with Heim bearing pinned into the tube and you have to replace the entire rod.  The new style rods which Mooney sells for legacy models have the rod end screwed in so it is easily replaceable (go figure why they didn't do it originally).  Price is one thing, availability may be another.

Although I never needed any Mooney OEM parts during the 18 month shutdown starting in 2008, I certainly felt better when the factory re-opened in 2010. 

This time might be different. The Chinese owners may not act as you think.  You may be assuming that they will let it go into bankruptcy like all other General Aviation manufacturers that failed which allows the bankruptcy court to dictate the process.  They may just shut it down and pay off their debts.  They won't be forced to reorganize or sell by the court and won't be motivated to sell for pennies on the dollar.  They may just sit on it.  Or they may just pack all the drawings, IP, jigs and everything of value up and ship it to China.  I noticed that the Chinese company, Midea Group, which bought the North American Electolux and Eureka vacuum business in 2016, simply abandoned much of the product line completely without any support.  It is one thing to stop selling a product, but it is another to just stop supplying repair parts even if the parts could be priced for an adequate return.  They did not care about the damage to the brand or customers that were abandoned.  These Chinese owners, Meijing Group, which control the company holding Mooney have no cultural tie to the  general aviation industry, Mooney pilots, or Kerrville and have no other investments in the US.

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