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Tuesday
Jan122010

Mooney Acclaim S Aircraft

The new Acclaim S (for speed) is the fastest production single engine airplane available. With a cruising airspeed of 242 knots (278 MPH) you get where you need to go fast. The airplane’s big Continental TSIO-550G engine features twin turbos and dual intercoolers; it thrums happily in the cold, high sky @ 25,000 feet above seal-level (about five miles over the ocean).

Loaded up with AV 100LL and two big pilots up front, the airplane is nearly at gross weight as it gradually sneaks up on its max cruise number. I watch the true airspeed readout on the Garmin G1000, and the numbers slowly count up to 239 knots. That’s 275 mph in nonpilot speak, about four times legal freeway speeds and faster even than a Bugatti Veyron. Normally, 239 knots is the beginning of turbine country, recorded by C90 King Airs and the like, but the fastest of the Mooneys takes truly high cruise in stride.

Speed has always been Mooney’s strongest suit. The type has consistently manifested among the highest knot count per hp in general aviation. In today’s world of $6-per-gallon avgas, the airplane’s ability to wring every possible knot out of each gallon serves it well. The gold standard of performance was previously one mph per hp, and a Mooney is one of very few production airplanes to realize that goal (achieved 30 years ago on the 201, flying 200 mph on 200 hp). Better still, the turbocharged Mooney 231 came close to realizing one knot per horsepower in 1979, delivering more than 200 knots on only 210 hp.

The first aircraft produced by the new Mooney company was the small, single-seat, Mooney Mite M-18. It was designed to appeal to the thousands of fighter pilots leaving military service (some thought the Mooney Mite looked so much like the Messerschmitt Bf 109 that they called it the "Texas Messerschmitt".

The Mooney Mite established some of the design concepts that are still used by Mooney today. The model Mooney M20 entered production in 1955 and outwardly looked like a scaled-up Mite. Mooney is still producing variants of the M20 today.

Modern Mooneys are know for being fast and nimble and have that distinctive aggressively forward pitched rudder.

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March 10, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLemuel

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