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The Marvelous Mooney M20

These airplanes are associated with two things, speed and efficiency. Here’s how they do it.

Mooney M20
Apart from a nip here, a tuck there and a stretch or two, the basic shape of the Mooney M20 has remained recognizable from the start. With the company’s continuous commitment to building planes that go fast for less, the M20 has become one of the most iconic light planes in history.

Some airplanes are ubiquitous and ordinary, attracting mostly temporary followers until replaced by something more desirable. Others ignite fires of passion upon their introduction, dying down to smolder after the initial blaze. And then there are the true cult airplanes, those for whom devotees never waiver in their loyalty. 

Put down the plucky little Mooney M20 series as belonging in the latter category. Mooney owners truly believe in their plane, and they stand by it through thick and thin—and there’s been a lot of thin in Mooney’s history. Those of us who enjoy rooting for the underdog have certainly been kept busy over the company’s checkered times.

How did Mooney Aircraft (under various corporate names) manage to survive over its 70-odd years of existence? For one thing, it has always built a niche product, filling a need mostly unmet by competitors, some of whom attempted to field a Mooney-like airplane while they concentrated on a larger line of cookie-cutter products. Mooney Aircraft never waivered; it knew who it was, and it stayed on message.



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