Mooney unveils two diesel-powered planes at Airshow China

Mooney International, an aircraft manufacturer that started in Wichita 85 years ago, unveiled two new aircraft models – both with diesel engines – at this week’s Airshow China 2014 in Zhuhai, China.

It’s the first new aircraft that the company, now based in Kerrville, Texas, has introduced since its restructuring last year.

Mooney ceased aircraft production five years ago during the economic downturn.

It restarted production in February following the 2013 sale of the company to Soaring America Corp., a California-based company headed by Jerry Chen, Mooney’s CEO, of Taiwan. Chen reportedly heads a group of Chinese investors.

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

On Tuesday at the China air show, Chen introduced the Mooney M10T, a fixed-gear composite trainer equipped with a Continental diesel engine.

He also introduced the M10J retractable-gear, diesel-powered aircraft. It’s an upgrade from the M10T with more luxury and amenities, the company said.

Both models incorporate turbo diesel technology, low operating costs and the option of using diesel or jet fuel, it said.

“These two aircraft will provide the general aviation market with a modern aircraft, not only for the mature Western aviation market, but also for the fast-growing Chinese market,” the company said.

Both are expected to gain certification and begin deliveries in 2017.

The planes will help pilots move into Mooney’s M20 series aircraft, it said.

Until now, Mooney has not had a trainer in its product line.

Besides a site in Kerrville, Mooney has offices in Chino, Calif., and Beijing, China.

Reach Molly McMillin at 316-269-6708 or mmcmillin@wichitaeagle.com. Follow her on Twitter: @mmcmillin.