Say what you will about American cars, but America builds some of the best civilian airplanes in the world. In the lower rungs of general aviation, especially trainers through four-seat retractables, American flying machines have virtually no equal.
Take, for instance, the Mooney M20R Ovation 3. The current M20R is a third-generation Mooney, the beneficiary of a half century of development. Designer Al Mooney inarguably got it right the first time out of the box back in the 1950s when he created his four-seat M20. While today’s airplane is light-years ahead of its ancestor in performance, comfort, systems, aerodynamics and electronics, you can still see the heritage of design—the arrogant, vertical tail; short, rubber doughnut gear; and tall baggage compartment.