Fixed Gear Mooney M20D Master

Discussion in 'Hangar Talk' started by callmesven, Oct 30, 2009.

  1. callmesven

    callmesven Pre-Flight

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    I am one of three partners in a fixed gear Mooney out of KSTS, Santa Rosa, CA. Les, our primary partner, originally purchased her two years ago. She sat outside in the Bay Area for 9 years without being flown. Les did a lot of work with a mutual friend, Cris, on bringing her back to life. Thankfully, the engine had been overhauled and was in great shape. I, along with the other partner, Dave, joined Les about 4 months ago. Both Dave and I let our licenses lapse decades ago thinking we'd never get back into the air again. Les talked us into joining him as partners and a mutual friend of ours, and airline instructor, got us both recertified and back up flying again.

    30U flies beautifully and seems to be elated she's in the air again. So are we. A while ago Cris did some exhaustive research on how many fixed gear birds are still flying. With the information he's gathered, it's very likely there are only three left. All the others have either been converted or salvaged. We only recently discovered the third one near Baltimore currently for sale on Ebay. It's possible there might be another one out there but all indications are these three are it. Dave has developed a friendship with an engineer at Mooney and they do correspond via email. We've been trying to get more POH Manual-type information on this model, such as more detailed weight and balance, range, etc. The test flights 45 years ago were not nearly what they are today and there's a lot we don't know.

    I have contacted both other fixed gear owners. We don’t know much about the one on Ebay and only received a short reply from her owner. However, the other owners are brothers from Princeton, NJ. Their bird was also found in rough shape and is currently getting a complete makeover. In an email to me they said, “It's still not flying yet but is getting a pretty complete makeover: engine overhaul, new prop, Tanis heater, new pitot tube, engine analyzer, Aspen glass unit to replace the AI/DG, new panel with a complete Garmin stack, refinished yokes, new insulation and interior, new windshield, fuel bladders, and probably more that I've forgotten about. The project didn't start off to be that ambitious but it's a slippery slope to fix up an old plane!”

    Our Mooney needed corrosion work that was the most extensive in the tail. We stripped and resealed both tanks and replaced her rudder. This year we’re looking at replacing the rubber landing gear donuts. We are very resistant to making the modification to retractable gear. She flies fast enough for us even with the gear down. In fact, yesterday I came “downhill” from 5,500 ft and reached 170 without blinking. She wants to stay in the air and you really have to work to get her slowed down and back in the hanger.

    To people who know what they’re looking at, she’s quite the novelty. We’ve even received comments and suggestions from controllers about forgetting to put our gear up. It’s fun telling them it’s a fixed gear Mooney and listening to their reactions. We also show her frequently at the Pacific Coast Air Museum at KSTS. General aviation buffs who know what they're looking at love her.

    Mooney built 100 M20D models in 1962 (serial numbers 101-200). The factory price was $13,995. In 1964, they built 51 more (serial numbers 201-251). The last fixed-gear Mooney aircraft were produced in 1965. It was a very limited run of only 8 aircraft (serial numbers 252-259). We have #125 built in 1963. All the rest have either been converted or have been salvaged. I'm told that after a new owner became comfortable in this model, it could be returned to the factory and after 3 days and $3000 would be converted to a retractable gear.

    We would love to find out if any more exist. We’ve exhausted all available avenues of research available to us and have multiple messages out on various sites. If the weather cooperates, we’ll be flying her to the Vintage Mooney fly in at Reid-Hillview in January '10. Otherwise, if you’re in the area and would love to see her in person, we have her hangered at KSTS and would be more than happy to show her off. You can see a picture of her here.
     
  2. SCCutler

    SCCutler Administrator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

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    Sven:

    1. Welcome to PoA! For a first post, you just hit it out of the park!

    2. I had no idea that there were any unconverted M20s left- what a find. You all should definitely keep her straight-legged, as I think her novelty will make her more valuable than the benefit of the retract.

    We'll forward to meeting you one fine day; hang around and have a virtual cup of virtual coffee here at Aviation's Front Porch, Pilots of America.

    /s/ Spike

    PS- Beautiful bird! Post more pics.
     
  3. Lance F

    Lance F Pattern Altitude

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    Great story! I'd love to see your plane, so I'm sorry you're a continent away. Say...have you ever heard of Gastons :D ?
    Welcome to POA. Keep posting.
     
  4. Commander Dave

    Commander Dave Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Sven,

    Welcome to the group. I am a newbie as well, and must say this group is very helfpul and will treat you well.

    Great find in the Mooney. I honestly didn't know such a plane existed.

    I fly the Rockwell Commander, and it to has a non-retract version, the Commander 111. I don't know if any are flying though, and they really only built a handful (maybe less) of them. I think just prototypes, that never made it to production.

    Anyhow - WELCOME!!! :)
     
  5. Dean

    Dean Pattern Altitude

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  6. wpierce

    wpierce Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I had no idea there was such a thing. What a great looking plane.

    Out of curiosity, what do you typically see for cruise speed and fuel burn?
     
  7. vontresc

    vontresc En-Route

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    Cool I had just assumed that all of the D models had been converted. That is a cool find, and I'm happy to hear that you are keeping it straight legged.
     
  8. kmead

    kmead Line Up and Wait

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    This was the one at Hayward I assume. Did Jim throw in the retractable gear kit that he had?

    Sounds like a fun project!

    Kevin
     
  9. jason

    jason Administrator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

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  10. Dean

    Dean Pattern Altitude

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    Thanks, didn't see the "here"
     
  11. jason

    jason Administrator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

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    No problem. I missed it the first time as well.
     
  12. callmesven

    callmesven Pre-Flight

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    Les did purchase N6630U from Jim in Hayward but I don't think the conversion kit was thrown in on purpose. I think Jim made Les promise not to convert her. I'll guess he's got the kit hidden somewhere. The other fixed-gear Mooneys still around are N1916Y located in Princeton, New Jersey and N6651U in Edgewood, MD.

    Our Mooney gets about 6-7 gph on a practice day and a little better in cruise. She typically cruises between 114-121 kts. But going downhill she's a screamer just like a regular Mooney. She likes to balloon and porpoise if you come in over 80 so you really have to fly her by the numbers. And she loves two pumps of flaps on takeoff. She was converted to a constant pitch prop before she was left to sit.

    Jim still does the annuals on her and regularly consults with us on minor issues. He has a love/hate relationship with her. He likes to tell us how she almost "got me" twice. Once was a mid-air issue with the fuel pump. I think he knew just where to kick to get it started again. I can't recall what the other issue was.

    She's due for new landing gear donuts this spring and will probably surprise is with something else. This past spring we stripped the right tank and thought that was going to be it but Jim discovered some corrosion on the rudder. It was cheaper to buy a salvaged rudder. We found one at the salvage yard in Sacramento.
     
  13. AdamZ

    AdamZ Administrator Management Council Member

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    That is a cool plane. I never knew they existed. Welcome to POA Sven.
     
  14. Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe

    Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe Final Approach

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    Any guess on what wheel pants would get you?
     
  15. kimberlyanne546

    kimberlyanne546 Final Approach

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    Sending a PM, and welcome to POA. I may re-located to KSTS and would love to know pilots / planes there.
     
  16. Pilawt

    Pilawt En-Route

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    That's great, Sven. Thanks for sharing the story.

    M20Ds were never built with the dorsal fin on the tail -- will you restore yours to original?

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Here's the one in Princeton, N1916Y. It even has a fixed-pitch prop, which was standard equipment on Masters:
    http://www.airliners.net/photo/Mooney-M-20D-Master/0895071/L/&sid=dfad14f4417c979abddfc23da8d446e8


    I don't think pants would be feasible on trailing-link gear like that -- same reason Beech Musketeers don't have them.
     
  17. Pilawt

    Pilawt En-Route

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    Only two prototypes of the [ahem] North American Rockwell Aero Commander 111 were built. Intended to compete head-on with the Cherokee 180, Sundowner and Cardinal, it had a 180 hp Lycoming and fixed prop.

    [​IMG]
     
  18. flight2000

    flight2000 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Beautiful airplane Sven.

    Wonder how many folks at the airport wonder out loud why the Mooney pilot is leaving the gear down.... :rolleyes:

    Brian
     
  19. Anthony

    Anthony Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Neat.

    Last guy I knew when I lived in the Bay area named Sven had a Cirrus. Did you sell it? Prolly not you, just kidding....., but didja? :)

    Neat plane! Now install the retract kit!
     
  20. Pilawt

    Pilawt En-Route

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    Whoops. Just noticed the date of the OP -- over two years ago. Wonder how the project is coming along ... ?
     
  21. kimberlyanne546

    kimberlyanne546 Final Approach

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    Guess this means he won't get my PM and I may not get to see the plane. Darn. I should have paid attention to that.
     
  22. flight2000

    flight2000 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    They still have the aircraft as far as I know and it's still a fixed gear model. Sven posted on the Mooney forum a couple of times, so I know they are still active out on the West Coast.

    Brian
     
  23. kimberlyanne546

    kimberlyanne546 Final Approach

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    And I just saw he posted a reply to my comment in another thread this week. So he should get my PM after all.

    Kimberly
     
  24. callmesven

    callmesven Pre-Flight

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    Still here and still alive. Sorry I don't check in much. The "restoration" project is coming along. In the past couple of years we've found a couple more issues and fixed them. We discovered a corroded block inside the right flap. To replace it required that every rivet be drilled out and basically the whole flap needed to be rebuilt. That was a fun project. The flap pump also needed rebuilding. In the process our AI discovered a tiny hairline crack where the flap spring attaches to the wing spar. We bought a kit that reinforces it which meant the entire baggage floor had to come out. We worked with our AI on all of this and learned a lot (of new bad swears).

    This year we decided to attack the ancient original interior. We discovered all kinds of old stuff behind the Corinthian Leather that was turning to powder. We replaced all the old air hoses since they were basically powder and rust and discovered a tiny leak in the hydraulic line previously unknown to us that has soaked the main hot air hose. It was a mess and impossible to see without taking everything apart. I think we've replaced every air hose on both sides of the firewall. It amounts to over 30 feet if you can believe that.

    Once we recover financially from all our recent doings we'll attack the outside. We'll save our pennies and hopefully have a new paint job in a couple of years. We finally found a photo of an original early M20D paint job. Ours is close but there are a few minor changes we'll make to bring it back more closely to the original. We all love the retro look of the plane so none of the modern whooshes for us.

    She'll probably be a hangar queen for a few more months. If you're in the neighborhood let me know. We'll be happy to show you our rare bird and our "Box of Shame" filled with nasty old parts and things we've replaced. Give me enough warning and we'll put ice in the beer cooler. The beers are on us.

    -Sven
     
  25. kmead

    kmead Line Up and Wait

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    Will Jim (the old owner) give you any warranty support? Last time I saw your plane it was tied outside of the old Flightcraft at Hayward. I always liked the D model. It should make a great airplane.
     
  26. Arbiter419

    Arbiter419 Cleared for Takeoff

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    Pretty airplane, glad to see you're keeping the legs straight!
     
  27. kimberlyanne546

    kimberlyanne546 Final Approach

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    I'm around pretty much every weekend (boyfriend lives in Windsor, very close to KSTS). Busy this Saturday, but might be free Sunday morning (won't be sure until pretty last minute). The next few weekends should be good, too, unless we make an unexpected trip to the snow.

    Would love to see the plane especially when you are all there working on it or otherwise there at the hangar. You can contact me at 7 0 7 7 9 9 6 3 1 4 cell.
     
  28. callmesven

    callmesven Pre-Flight

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    Jim has been incredibly gracious and generous to us, not to mention patient. He's been an incredible asset to us and has basically been a part of the deal all along. He loves this bird and doesn't want to see her converted and is elated she's being "restored" and flown again. He should be charging us a lot more than he is and he spends a lot of time checking on us, guiding us, and getting his hands dirty.

    She was in very rough shape in Hayward and I think he was concerned she might be lost to the elements if she weren't adopted soon. What amazes me is though she had a couple of big issues, the rest of her looked brand new. She should have been a lot worse for wear. All the big stuff is done. Now all that's left is the interior and the paint. We've kept all the steam gauges so she's very "old school." We're restoring all the old plastic trim, too. When we're done she'll look factory fresh 1963.
     
  29. callmesven

    callmesven Pre-Flight

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    I sent you a PM, Kimberly.
     
  30. Henning

    Henning Ejection Handle Pulled

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    Nice, another sample in the argument that "fixed gear is as fast as retract...". 20 kts, add 5 for wheel pants so another sample where the retract is worth 15kts.
     
  31. kimberlyanne546

    kimberlyanne546 Final Approach

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    Got it, sent you an email. One day I will get to see the cool airplane!
     
  32. kimberlyanne546

    kimberlyanne546 Final Approach

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    Though the plane was awesome, I somehow did not take a picture. What I did take a picture of was this "air conditioner" the two guys made for the Mooney:

    [​IMG]
     
  33. ronmacewen

    ronmacewen Filing Flight Plan

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    N1916Y is almost ready to fly after a refit. This Mooney M20D Master is fixed gear and fixed pitch prop. Items: new prop, overhauled engine, repaired engine mount, O&N bladder tanks, JPI EDM 930 engine monitor, new Lasar panels, Garmin GMA 347, GPS 430W, SL30 navcom, GTX 330 mode S, new Airtex interior, new windshields, 406 ELT, LED landing light, Aspen Pro PFD, all remaining instruments overhauled, etc.

    RonM
     
  34. Dav8or

    Dav8or En-Route

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    Ooo! Nice! Pictures please.:) Are you over on MooneySpace.com? They would love to hear of your progress too!
     
  35. Pilawt

    Pilawt En-Route

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  36. kimberlyanne546

    kimberlyanne546 Final Approach

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    Do the laser panels shoot laser beams?
     
  37. dell30rb

    dell30rb Final Approach

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    I'd really like to know what kind of fans those are
     
  38. denverpilot

    denverpilot Taxi to Parking

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    Look like they're just standard DC powered 4" fans.

    They put 6" automotive stereo speaker covers over them besides the little grills that are showing underneath.

    Why, I don't know. Maybe kept dropping small stuff in them and jamming them?
     
  39. denverpilot

    denverpilot Taxi to Parking

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    Or maybe 5". Yeah... 5".
     
  40. ronmacewen

    ronmacewen Filing Flight Plan

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    Guys
    My Mooney M20D Master, N1916Y flies!
    I finished the restoration in November 2014 and flew it to Florida for the winter. There, I had a Garmin GDL88 ADS-B installed. I have done the 50 hour break-in on the engine and it is working great with almost no oil burn. The avionics have all been updated to the latest hardware and software versions. I believe that 1916Y is the one and only remaining fixed gear/fixed pitch prop version on the register. It flies just like a Mooney.....alas, a bit slower; I file 110 kts IFR.......and with a 9.3 gal/hr burn and the new O&N bladders, I get an endurance of at least 5.5 hrs. I tried to get an STEC 30 autopilot installed, but the STC specifically excludes "fixed gear models". Oh well.

    The restoration has been an adventure.....always something unexpected pops up. Right now I am awaiting O-rings for a leaky brake master cylinder.....not a big job.
    I will be taking the aircraft to Oshkosh 2014 for a few days to display it for sale. I will be in Row 503, North 40. I have over $75K in it not including labour......and will take offers of $60K or over. There are pictures on the internet showing the new panel.......if the FAA relents and allows the use of a drivers licence in lieu of Third Class medical, the only four place Mooney that will qualify is a Master, M20D. The gross wt is 2500 lbs and the empty is just over 1500 lbs...almost 1000 lbs useful. I can ferry the aircraft anywhere in North America and provide a thorough check out to the buyer.

    This is truly a "turn key aircraft".......except for the aforementioned autopilot, it needs nothing.

    Ron MacEwen
    ronmacewen@hotmail.com