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How Many Hours PIC to Transition into a Mooney (Poll)?


Minimum hours to transition into a Mooney  

117 members have voted

  1. 1. How many hours Total Time did you have when you started flying a Mooney?

    • 0-Private
      2
    • Private-99
      25
    • 100-199
      30
    • 200-299
      15
    • 300-399
      7
    • 400-499
      9
    • 500-999
      9
    • 1000-1499
      8
    • 1500+
      12
  2. 2. Based on your experience, how many hours Total Time would you advise someone to accumulate before transitioning to a Mooney

    • 0-Private
      10
    • Private-99
      46
    • 100-199
      45
    • 200-299
      12
    • 300-399
      2
    • 400-499
      1
    • 500-999
      0
    • 1000-1499
      1
    • 1500+
      0
  3. 3. What rating do you consider minimum to transition to a Mooney?

    • None
      8
    • Student
      8
    • Private
      89
    • Instrument
      12
    • Commercial
      0


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How many hours Total, PIC, retract and what rating did you have when you transitioned into a Mooney? Based on how it turned out, did you start flying a Mooney too soon for your experience level, too late, or just right time? Based on how it went for you, how much quantitative and qualitative experience would you recommend a pilot to have before transitioning into a Mooney? Does your answer vary by model?

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If you understand page 8 of my Precision Flying Handout that is both on my website and included with my Landing Video, then transitioning to a Mooney should be no different than transitioning to any o

Keep perpetuating the myth of how difficult Mooney’s are to fly, the best sales tool for Cirrus. Clarence

When actually teaching, I can convince a person to move to my way of thinking through the action of demonstrations, not words alone.  On a forum like this, unfortunately, words are the only thing that

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I was unique.  I had about 60 hours in SEL, but over 500 hours in high performance gliders with retract.  Biggest thing to flying Mooney's is enough experience that flying the plane is secondary to situational awareness.  Hardest thing with Mooney's is stabilized approaches so you don't treat it like landing a Cezzna :P.

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I was fortunate when I took my private in that I had a very good teacher, Tony Sopata, who now does hiring for Southwest. Among other things, I learned GUMPS in a fixed gear, having in mind I would fly a retract at some point, so I always went through the motions of dropping the gear. The transition to the Mooney was a nothing. I would say the only real trick involved (other than learning to fly the 231's throttle system, which is another story), was speed control during approach and landing. Definitely a good idea to get with a Mooney specific instructor for some transition training, and make the first few landings on a good, long runway, while you are learning, but the learning happens quickly and there you are, a Mooney pilot.

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I had 354 hours total time with a Commercial Pilot Glider rating with Private Pilot restriction in airplane. In other words I was Private Pilot Airplane, Commercial Pilot Glider. 190 hours glider, 164 airplane, 261 PIC, 34 tailwheel, 66 hours xcountry, 53 hours retract/complex time. 6 years of Aviation experience and 4 years in Airplane.

In retrospect I would say I was at my lower limit of qualification to comfortably/safely transition into a Mooney. I made up for it by adding 150 hours and instrument rating in my first year of ownership. Two things I had going for me were being in the aviation environment for 6 years and flying a diversity of aircraft. Years play nearly as much of a role as hours. In the time spent in aviation, I was contemplating weather regularly, reading articles, hearing stories, etc. I think 500 hours in 1 year is less experience than 300 hours in 5 years for this reason. It takes time to be involved in aviation as much as hands on time in flight.

By the time I got my Mooney, I had checkouts and experience in many gliders: 2-33, 1-26, 2-32, 1-34, 1-34R, L13, G103 and airplanes: J3 Cub, 152, 172, PA28 Cadet, PA28R-180 Arrow, PA32R-300 Lance, BE35 Bonanza. This diversity of aircraft as opposed to having all the hours in the same airplane made me more aware of learning a new aircraft.

I think that if I had less years in aviation or a less diverse variety of aircraft experience, I should have had more hours (like 400-500) before moving into an M20J.

Even after getting my Mooney, it took me years to get truly comfortable and proficient at flying this airplane. It wasn't until getting my instrument rating, 500+ hours in M20J, and years of flying at it that I felt like I grew into it. Nonetheless, to this day with 10 years of ownership and 1500 hours in Mooney, I do not feel like I have outgrown the airplane. Despite feeling familiar and comfortable, I still feel challenged and interested all the same.

My advice to any beginner is to enjoy their pre-owner years and make the most of them. Experience flying a diverse fleet of aircraft available for rental and get good at flying. Fly enough to know your mission, objectives, challenges, abilities, and deficiencies. Then, when you have sufficient experience and are ready to step up to the next level, consider a Mooney.

I think 250 hours total time + 3 years aviation experience is really the bare minimum to get into any Mooney and better to see 500 hours + 5 years. An instrument rating is very important but I think it's ok to earn it in the Mooney itself because it's great practice to do it in the machine you'll be in the soup with.

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I started flight lessons in Oct 2006. Come March 2007 I was into Student XC and beginning to plane shop. PPL Checkride was 21 May 07; bought the Mooney on 26 June 07, with 62 total hours to my name and in my logbook, but much of it was not PIC. Insurance was difficult to find and expensive [$3100 back then for my C], and they required 15 hours dual including 5 actual / simulated IMC with their instructor, or 15 dual 10 solo with anyone else. I took their experienced Mooney instructor!

The day after my signoff, took the wife for lunch on the other side of WV. The next weekend, we went KHTW --> KFAY for her father's birthday, cruising down the Appalachians at 7500 and back at 8500. I haven't looked back since!

The keys for me was that I was still in student learning mode [and was getting a Masters in Engineering at night, so serious student mode!], and I had a knowledgeable, experienced Mooney instructor and took it all to heart. Learn to fly an accurate approach at an accurate speed--72 mph means 72 mph, not 70-80 mph like in the Cezzners.

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30 minutes ago, 201er said:

How many hours Total, PIC, retract and what rating did you have when you transitioned into a Mooney? Based on how it turned out, did you start flying a Mooney too soon for your experience level, too late, or just right time? Based on how it went for you, how much quantitative and qualitative experience would you recommend a pilot to have before transitioning into a Mooney? Does your answer vary by model?

If you understand page 8 of my Precision Flying Handout that is both on my website and included with my Landing Video, then transitioning to a Mooney should be no different than transitioning to any other tricycle gear airplane, assuming a knowledgeable Mooney Specific Instructor.  As with transitioning to any airplane should be, the transitioning pilot would be comfortable with how to maintain airspeed within a knot in smooth air and slope management for landing.  Until I met my mentor instructor, Robert Goldin, unfortunately I hadn't found any instructor who understood those principals well enough to teach them.  The light bulb went on with his outstanding instruction and I am passing on his words of wisdom to this day.

I have found that less flight time is usually better when it comes to transition training.  There is less "undoing previous bad instruction" and "my instructor told me to do it this way" to be done.  I just can't believe some people.  Their previous instructors generally had very little Money time, but trying to change their habits validates one of the principles taught in becoming a flight instructor; The Law of Primacy, first things learned are most ingrained--even if they are wrong.  

Several students pilots have purchased their Mooney before they even got their Private including one who bought an Ovation 3.  I helped him bring his plane from Atlanta to California, then, after he finished up his Private,  we did his transition training in about 16.5 hours.   I had another outstanding student who had just gotten her license, did her transition training with me, and flew her C Model all the way back to Florida on her own.  Even Airline Pilots need some transition training, although most can transition in 5 hours.  I even had a transitioning U2 pilot who took about 4 hours.  Most transition trainings take about 15-20 hours and 25-40 landings.  I did have one student who took 30 hours because it was an Acclaim and his home airport was Palo Alto with its 2,460 foot runway.  I couldn't let him go until he was consistently able to handle that.

Bottom line; with good instruction transitioning to the Mooney is no more difficult than transitioning to a more "draggy" airplane.

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From the poll results so far, looks like I will break with the majority in saying I think you should be Instrument rated before stepping into a Mooney.

For one, I think this is actually more important than total time, as there are plenty of non-IR PPLs out there with 500 hours worth of weekend day VFR hamburger runs and a lot of bad habits.  As an instructor in my local flying club, I fly with a lot of these type of pilots, and they would definitely get themselves into trouble in something fast like a Mooney.

But also, I think that an Instrument rating teaches you to fly with the required precision and procedural mindset that I think is necessary to be truly safer in a faster, more complex airplane.  Not to mention that, in order to really get the most out of what a Mooney offers (speed, efficiency), you're going to want to be flying higher (and so encountering more clouds) and probably IFR much of the time.

As for getting your IFR ticket in a Mooney, I guess you could... but most of my instrument students have more than they can handle at the beginning in something like a 172 when it comes to getting behind the airplane in IMC.  Adding 40-50 knots to that and it would come tumbling apart pretty quickly.  I suppose you might also learn pretty quickly (to think ahead), because you have no other choice.

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Just now, Ryan ORL said:

As for getting your IFR ticket in a Mooney, I guess you could... but most of my instrument students have more than they can handle at the beginning in something like a 172 when it comes to getting behind the airplane in IMC.  Adding 40-50 knots to that and it would come tumbling apart pretty quickly.

That's what the red knob is there for! Pull it out till the engine nearly quits, maybe tug the other two back beforehand as well and before you know it you're doing 110kts and spending half the fuel of the 172. I still do that till this day when I get overwhelmed in difficult IFR or when I was flying to Bravo airports back to back.

IFR2.thumb.jpg.77198724ffc91a98465e06236e113044.jpg

105KIAS, 15", 2160RPM, 4.6GPH - Speed reduced per ATC request

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I took my first flight 5/28/2016 and my check ride 10/15/2016 with 46.7 hours in the logbook. We bought the Mooney a couple months later when I had 58.6 hours in the logbook. Insurance required 10 dual and 5 solo before flying passengers. By around 8 hours dual I felt ready to fly on my own and by the time I had the total required hours I felt ready to fly my family. Since then I've averaged over 100 hours a year and we have had many adventures. Regular trips to Salt Lake, Idaho, Phoenix, and even coast to coast in June 2019, all VFR. It can be done, just requires good planning and flexibility.

I did just start my IFR in it and looking forward to adding that to the tool box.

If someone has a good foundation and gets quality transition training I don't see why they need to spend hours and hours or get additional ratings past Private just to fly a Mooney.

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16 minutes ago, Ryan ORL said:

As for getting your IFR ticket in a Mooney, I guess you could... but most of my instrument students have more than they can handle at the beginning in something like a 172 when it comes to getting behind the airplane in IMC.  Adding 40-50 knots to that and it would come tumbling apart pretty quickly.  I suppose you might also learn pretty quickly (to think ahead), because you have no other choice.

I flew my Mooney around the country, visiting probably a dozen states or more, for three years before getting serious about IFR. Knuckled down and flew with the CFII regularly. As an airline pilot, she was surprised at my level of control with simulated instrument and gage failures, but it was from 300+ hours VFR flying in my plane. There's nothing like experience and familiarity with the plane when trying to figure out instrument procedures!

We flew approaches at 90 knots / 105 mph, just like the revered 172. The difference was only that I could go faster if I wanted to, and I climbed quicker on missed approaches. Oh, and I enjoyed it a lot more, and everything that I did applied directly when flying my own plane, because I was flying my own plane.

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I am not a CFI nor do I play one on TV.  I am a high performance driving instructor.  A question like this is truly difficult to answer as everyone is different.  We have some students that pick up on something quickly.  They understand looking ahead as an example, because of their history with downhill skiing and such.  Others revert to looking just past the hood as they did when they were first learning how do drive.  There are the more extreme that every lap around the track is a new experience and we explain that maybe a different hobby is in their future.  I don't expect these people are capable of flying anything much less than a kite.  So, there is a risk tolerance that a pilot has personally where they feel they can explore the bounds of other planes other than the one they trained in.  I have a high risk tolerance and because of a flight school challenge, I bought my plane before my PPL and took my PPL test in it.  That was amazing.  I don't think my DPE had ever been in a plane faster than his float planes or a 172. 

I appreciate what Don said about teaching without having to overcome prior bad habits. That is a thing and getting in proper training early is a good thing.  This one point is why I don't teach my kids how to golf.  I would rather have them start off right.

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12 minutes ago, Ryan ORL said:

But also, I think that an Instrument rating teaches you to fly with the required precision and procedural mindset that I think is necessary to be truly safer in a faster, more complex airplane. 

While you do need precision when flying on instruments, the required precision to fly an airplane should be taught at the student level.  But, since most instructors haven't been taught properly themselves, they pass on their faulty training to their students.

 

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18 minutes ago, donkaye said:

While you do need precision when flying on instruments, the required precision to fly an airplane should be taught at the student level.  But, since most instructors haven't been taught properly themselves, they pass on their faulty training to their students.

 

I agree that students should be expected to fly with that same precision, but the reality is that most pilots don't stay at that level of proficiency.  I feel that blaming this on inadequately trained CFIs is a bit unfair.  Consider that your average PPL is flying maybe once or twice a month and probably only flies with a CFI once every 2 years for the required 1 hour.  There is plenty of time for rust, complacency, and bad habits to develop.

I'm not saying it's impossible that a 40 hour freshly-minted non-IR PPL is flying up to that standard.  In fact, they probably fly a lot better than a lot of 400-hour PPLs who haven't seen training outside of a flight review in 15 years.  But are we talking about "the way it ought to be", or the way that it is?

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13 minutes ago, Ryan ORL said:

I agree that students should be expected to fly with that same precision, but the reality is that most pilots don't stay at that level of proficiency. 

That reality is because the student was not properly trained and I place the blame directly on the flight instructor.  If a person truly understands the pitch/power relationship as I teach it, then they understand what primarily and secondarily controls what in any phase of flight, and if they take time out from flying, but have been taught the proper use of that relationship, then they should return to flying with minimum loss of proficiency.

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21 hours ago, Ryan ORL said:

As for getting your IFR ticket in a Mooney, I guess you could... but most of my instrument students have more than they can handle at the beginning in something like a 172 when it comes to getting behind the airplane in IMC.  Adding 40-50 knots to that and it would come tumbling apart pretty quickly.  I suppose you might also learn pretty quickly (to think ahead), because you have no other choice.

Like other piston aircraft, all Mooneys have a throttle. I don't mean to be critical, just that Mooney pilots get so addicted to speed they forget the aircraft has a large envelope. It is not necessary to fly around at 130-150 kts. if you don't want to. Here in the Minneapolis area it is pretty common to make a "round robin" for instrument currency, hitting 4-6 airports and flying their approach procedures in about 2 1/2 hours, ending up with an approach to landing at one's home base. Distances are short, as little as 5-10 minutes from one missed approach to the start of the next procedure. So I just throttle back to around 100-110 kts clean and 90 kts. configured for landing. Sometimes I just leave the gear out if I want to really slow down. The aircraft does not mind flying slow at all and the fuel burn is pretty nice, down around 8-9 GPH. Having done a fair amount of flying in Warriors and Slohawks, there is no difference between those aircraft at 100 kts, and a Mooney at 100 kts except maybe that the Mooney control system is tighter and the instrumentation is likely to be quite a bit better in the Mooney than in your average school plane.

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I learned in a Piper Cherokee awhile ago in February, I did my long cross country on July 4th,, my tough instructor owned a Mooney among other planes. I started my IFR training a few months later wanting a break from training. Around February of the following year I found a nice 1977 201, started my transition training from Weber’s my instructor went with me to pick up the plane. Started the transition and IFR training about a year after my discovery flight, studied received a 100 on my written worked hard on training and received my rating later in the year.

I believe the transition to a Mooney is really dependent on your instructor especially I believe it should be a Mooney guy. My instructor rammed weather, being conservative, precise, using checklists and knowledge of your POH long before he allowed me to take my check ride which only took a couple hours. Nowadays I’m sure the checkout will be longer. My instructor ensured the examiner I was ready. Many people I know failed at least there first check ride with this guy. Mr Chris if seeing this knows who the examiner is.

In conclusion I feel if you study hard become competent in the written knowledge have a strong handle regarding weather plus take at least training twice weekly you should be successful being a low time pilot. If you plod along, having a poor instructor stretch out your training for many months to year’s your success will be greatly compromised.

Many will differ that’s ok.

 

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I had about 100 hours, PA 28, C152 172 182 and Be 35. Insurance required 5 dual and 10 solo. Learned from my IA/AP/CFII who had quite a few hours in a G based here. It was a non issue in the M20E.

Got my instrument 2 years ago and still learning.

Sent from my SM-G970U using Tapatalk

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I got my ppl in 1972 at 17 years old.  I stopped and started some due to marriage’s etc. I bought my Mooney at about a 1000 hrs.  I had about 350 hrs in a Comanche, 150 in Cessna’s and Cherokee’s.  The F was a big challenge for a couple of hours. “It was just a single”. Right.
after about 75 hrs. I started my instrument rating.  I learned a lot completing the rating.  I sold the plane with about 500 hrs in it.  Fly safe. 

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Flying is not difficult. Pretty much anyone can learn to do it. Especially if one has a good instructor. I'm squarely with @donkaye on this. It's all on the CFI. I learned to fly as an adult, 40ish. So I interviewed CFI's until I found one who wasn't a pretentious ass and completely full of himself just because he held a pilots certificate. I interviewed five, flew with two, and finally settled on one good CFI to show me how to fly an airplane.

Mooneys are not great platforms for learning to land. But once a Student Pilot has soloed and learned to land well, I'd be fine to transition them into a Mooney. Especially the short or mid-body, NA Mooneys. They should not be difficult to fly or land for anyone.

Having said that, I've flown with a few pilots who with a couple of thousand hours, still shouldn't be turned loose with a good Mooney. 

And with regards to IFR training, as far as I'm concerned, the Mooney is an excellent platform to learn and get the IFR ticket in. Learn to fly in a trainer, then buy a Mooney and log some hours. Then get the IFR certificate in the Mooney that you're now comfortable flying. 

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5 minutes ago, gsxrpilot said:

And with regards to IFR training, as far as I'm concerned, the Mooney is an excellent platform to learn and get the IFR ticket in. Learn to fly in a trainer, then buy a Mooney and log some hours. Then get the IFR certificate in the Mooney that you're now comfortable flying. 

This is exactly what I'm doing!

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