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Mooney M20E




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 produced

1969 - 73

1970 - 61

1971 - 23

1972 - No models produced

1973 - No models produced

1974 - 37

1975 - 20 (Last year for the M20E)


Source: Mooney Chronology

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 trips...


Listed 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: 2575 pounds

Empty Weight: 1633 pounds

Useful Load: 942 pounds

Fuel Capacity: 52 gallons

Fuel Type: 100LL

Cruise Speed: 158 knots true airspeed at 7,000 feet

Landing Speed: 70 knots

Fuel Burn in Cruise at 75% power: ~10.5 gph

Endurance at 75% power: 5 hours

Take off Distance: 760 feet at sea level (1300 ft over 50' obstacle)

Landing Distance: 595 feet at sea level (1365 ft over 50' obstacle)

Engine: Lycoming IO-360-A1A, Fuel Injected, 200hp

Constant Speed Prop: Can be 2 or 3-blade props made by Hartzell, McCauley, or MT

Wingspan: 35'

Height at Tail: 8'4"

Length: 23'2"

Seats: 4

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.


2. Corrosion.  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 replaced.


3. Engine 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.


4. Engine 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 engine overhaul. 


5. Prop.  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 setup.


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...


Insurance:  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 airport.



Hope 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 flying!!




This page was last updated September 12, 2013

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