Mooney Aviation to again manufacture planes

10/12/2013 8:15 AM

08/08/2014 10:19 AM

Mooney Aviation will restart manufacturing of three airplanes beginning in January after a five-year hiatus, the company said.

The company, based in Kerrville, Texas, will receive funding to revive the company and restart production from Soaring America Corp., based in Alhambra, Calif. Details of the financial arrangement are confidential, the company said.

Mooney has gone bankrupt and changed ownership several times since its founding in Wichita by Albert and Arthur Mooney in 1929.

Mooney ceased production five years ago in the economic downturn, which hurt single-engine sales.

“Given more positive economic indicators and the unique market niche for Mooney airplanes, the company feels confident about a sustaining future in the industry,” the company said in a news release.

With the funding, Mooney will restart the manufacturing of its single-engine Acclaim Type S and the Ovation 2 and Ovation 3 high-performance airplanes.

“It’s a new day for Mooney,” said Barry Hodkin, Mooney’s chief financial officer. “With a new investment group that is committed to the future, we’re expecting to make a strong move in the industry.”

It’s been a long time coming, Hodkin said.

Now, Mooney must hire and train a new work force and re-establish its supply chain.

It plans to hire up to 100 people in its first year of operation, including technicians, engineers, line workers and accounting and sales people.

Within two years, it plans to grow its work force significantly, depending on demand.

“While we expect to be reunited with some of our previous employees, we are confident we’ll attract new talent as we re-enter this aviation space,” Hodkin said. “We’re looking for the best and brightest people to help meet our vision for the future.”

Mooney now employs fewer than a dozen people, who supply parts for the existing fleet. It also has retained its Federal Aviation Administration certifications.

The news follows reports this week from a Chinese news source that said Meijing Group, a Chinese real estate developer registered in the provincial capital of Zhengzhou, was expected to buy Mooney. It’s unclear whether the Meijing group is related to Soaring America in any way.

Soaring America filed for incorporation in November 2012, according to corporationwiki.com. It lists Cheng-Yuan Chen as president and Haohang Li as the registered agent.

Since its inception, Mooney has delivered more than 11,000 airplanes worldwide. It has more than 7,800 customers in the U.S. and 1,000 more overseas.

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