If you're interested in
purchasing a Mooney M20E, here's a list of basic information and
aircraft data. My experience is based on the 1967 model,
which is a difficult year to locate because only 62 were made by
Mooney and the numbers dropped considerably after that.
The list below details the numbers made each year:
1964 - 366 (First
year of production)
1965 - 363
1966 - 473
1967 - 62
1968 - No models
1969 - 73
1970 - 61
1971 - 23
1972 - No models
1973 - No models
1974 - 37
1975 - 20 (Last
year for the M20E)
In my research I
found that the speed and economy of a Mooney cannot be beat.
There are other aircraft that can haul more cargo, travel
faster, or burn less fuel. You can normally get two of the
three categories, but a compromise will need to be made on the
third. Which one is up to you. The Mooney is firmly
planted in the last two (travel faster on less gas). I
have a respectable useful load, so it's not that bad.
Helps to keep souvenir hunting to a minimum when we take
below are the performance numbers as listed in the owners manual (always refer to your model's Owners
Manual for specific information about your aircraft).
I get very close to these numbers on a normal day.
Max Gross Weight:
Useful Load: 942
Fuel Capacity: 52
Fuel Type: 100LL
Cruise Speed: 158
knots true airspeed at 7,000 feet
Landing Speed: 70
Fuel Burn in
Cruise at 75% power: ~10.5 gph
Endurance at 75%
power: 5 hours
Distance: 760 feet at sea level (1300 ft over 50' obstacle)
595 feet at sea level (1365 ft over 50' obstacle)
IO-360-A1A, Fuel Injected, 200hp
Prop: Can be 2 or 3-blade props made by Hartzell, McCauley,
Height at Tail:
Before purchasing any
aircraft, a thorough pre-purchase inspection or full annual is
always a good idea. This will uncover (hopefully) any
mechanical deficiencies that need to be addressed. You can
work out the details of how major and minor squawks are handled
and who pays for what as part of the agreement. If it's not
right, you can always walk away. Never let a small amount
paid for a pre-buy inspection sway you towards following through
with the sale. Being able to walk away with only a couple
of hundred dollars invested may save you thousands later down
the road. There are a couple of mandatory items that you
should always check for on Mooney aircraft.
1. Mooney Service
Bulletin SB208A and SB208B. These cover the insulation
in older Mooney's and while not mandatory, it should be.
208A is a one-time exchange of the insulation and 208B is an
annual inspection looking for corrosion in the tubes
surrounding the cabin.
Any aircraft can have issues, but a good Mooney mechanic
will know where to look for the tell tale signs of
corrosion. It can get expensive if tubes or control
surfaces need to be
Compression. This is normally the first thing that
everyone looks for and if all cylinders are in the 70's, it's
a good indicator of the health of the engine, but not
always. Borescopes can reveal any rust within the
engine that can be a killer, especially if the engine has
only been flown limited hours (my definition is anything
less than 25 hours per year). This is a red flag that
would warrant a closer look.
Overhaul. There are two thoughts on this. The
first is for those that like to buy with engines and props
close to TBO so they can monitor and choose where to have the
engine overhauled. The second is to find a lower time,
recently overhauled engine and prop. There is no right
answer in this case, just what you prefer. Run out
engines can reduce the overall purchase price, but be sure
to budget $24,000 to $30,000 for the
The same applies for the prop, but beware that Hartzell
currently has an AD out that requires an EDDY inspection on
one of their hubs every 100 hours. New hubs run about
$4,500 and that does not include the labor required to
change it out. The EDDY inspection costs anywhere from
$190 to $300 depending on the shop. It takes roughly
60 minutes to complete the inspection. Again, personal
preference on this. I started out with this
inspection, but changed to a Hartzell "Top Prop" instead of
going with an overhaul.
6. Landing Gear.
Have the mechanic put the aircraft on jacks to check for
ease of retraction if it's a Johnson Bar (manual gear)
equipped aircraft. The J-Bar is dirt simple to operate
and should swing freely if properly rigged. The same
would apply to the electric gear if you prefer that type of
7. Logs. A
thorough check of the logs to make sure all Airworthiness Directives are
complied with along with the Service Bulletins issued by
Mooney. Missing logs can pose a problem and require
more in-depth analysis to make sure things are complied
with. It would be awesome if the owner had the logs in
digital format for you to review from the comfort of your
desk instead of wasting time flying out to a distant
location only to find something in the logs you don't like.
It only took me about two hours to digitize all of mine
with a simple camera and PowerPoint. I now have all of my
logs saved in a PDF file. I left the current books in
a PowerPoint presentation so I can add additional pages as
new maintenance is completed.
8. A thorough annual will
catch most of the remaining items, but not always.
Sometimes, things just get missed. Hopefully the big
stuff will get caught and fixed. I'd
recommend using a reputable Mooney Service Center or
a mechanic that knows Mooney's inside and out. There are
several good shops located around the country to use. Not
everyone likes working on them because of the tight
clearances in the engine compartment and wings, but there are those that specialize in them.
Seek them out and make them your friend...
Depending on your experience, Mooney's can have insurance rates
as high as $2,500 per year. Rates are dependant on the hull
value, the coverage you want, your pilot certifications (total
time and time in complex aircraft), and the particular model you're looking at.
I paid $1,550 for 12 months coverage on $70,000 hull value for
the first year.
It dropped the second year by $450 after I
had almost 110 hours in the plane. I currently hold a
Private Pilot License with Single and Multi-Engine Instrument
Ratings. My total time is 415 hours and 165 hours ME/SE
complex time. My only requirement was
to get 1 hour of dual instruction with a Mooney CFI before I
could fly solo. Most pilots transitioning to Mooney's are required to have 10 hours
instruction and an additional 10 hours solo before carrying
passengers you're new to complex aircraft or have lower total
time. It all depends on your current ratings and the
insurance company you are dealing with.
Instrument ratings will definitely lower your premiums as well
as time in the aircraft.
Hangar: My recommendation is to have at least a roof over the
top of your aircraft. Insurance prefers indoor hangars as well and will discount for
those airplanes that are kept out of the weather versus on the line.
Hail damage and line rash are usually the biggest threats to
outdoor aircraft. Some
airport authorities seem to think that they are luxury hotels and hangar
rent can run north of $500 per month. Sometimes the best
option is to drive a little instead of using the closest
this little bit of information helps out. Once you decide
to start looking for an airplane, it's never a bad idea to seek
out advice. I utilized Coast-to-Coast Aircraft when I
bought my plane, but the owner has since passed away. He
was invaluable during the process.
Best of luck and safe