Best of the Best 2007: Personal Aircraft: Mooney Acclaim
The first thing you will notice about any Mooney aircraft is its tail. Slanted forward instead of backward, as most planes’ tails are, it conveys the impression that the plane is moving at a tremendous speed whether it is flying or sitting on the tarmac. The new Mooney Acclaim offers more than just the impression of speed, however.
The turbocharged Acclaim, the latest single-engine piston aircraft from the Mooney Airplane Co., is the firm’s fastest yet. When the plane debuted in April 2006 at the Sun ’n Fun air show in Florida, then-CEO Gretchen Jahn, who had flown it there from the Mooney factory in Kerrville, Texas, reported that at 25,000 feet she was cruising at 271.6 mph. That would make the Acclaim just a bit quicker than the Columbia 400, which has a cruise speed of 270 mph and is, Columbia claims, the world’s fastest single-engine piston plane. Regardless of which company holds the top spot, the Acclaim is a bullet of a piston.
To achieve that speed, Mooney engineers gave the aircraft a number of aerodynamic advantages. While the Columbia 400 has fixed landing gear, the Acclaim’s gear retracts in flight, to reduce drag. New winglets create a small upsweep at the tip of each wing, cutting drag further. Mooney added twin turbochargers and dual intercoolers to the brawny yet smooth-running Continental TSIO-550-G engine. The interior has four leather seats, a Garmin G1000 avionics suite, and built-in air bags. With anti-ice equipment and air-conditioning installed, the Acclaim sells for about $650,000. Deliveries have begun, and as of April the backlog extended into the fourth quarter of this year.
Mooney has sold more than 11,000 airplanes since it was founded in 1929. Over the decades, the company has grappled with financial problems and has changed hands several times. It currently is a private entity owned by a group of investors who, according to new CEO Dennis Ferguson, are providing the financial stability needed to keep Mooney at the top of its game.
Mooney Airplane Co.