08 October 2013

Meijing Group Buys Mooney Aviation

On 8 October 2013 the Mooney Aviation Company announced that they had been purchased by the Meijing Group of China, for an undisclosed sum.

The fact that Mooney had been looking for investors for a number of years is no surprise. The company had been struggling before the 2008-10 recession and then when it hit they were left with a fair inventory of unsold aircraft. On 5 November 2008 the company ceased production and laid off most of its workforce and the building of new Mooneys has not resumed since. The company has remained in business as a parts supplier to its existing fleet, but by January 2011 had only about ten employees left at work at the Kerrville, Texas plant.

The purchase by the Meijing Group, a Chinese real estate developer based in Zhengzhou, Henan Province, must come as a great relief for Mooney. Without this sort of buyout the company probably didn't have a future. The company is now planning a return to production of the M20 aircraft series.

For the Meijing Group this is a move to diversify the company and their first foray into the aerospace field.

Once again, though, it is apparent, as Mooney looked for a buyer for the past three years, that no one in North America or Europe was going to step in and buy the company. As has been the case often in recent years it has fallen to middle eastern and, more commonly, Chinese interests to buy up western aerospace manufacturers and keep them in business.

Here is my current list of western aerospace firms bought out so far by non-western interests:

  • Cirrus Aircraft - Government of the Peoples Republic of China
  • Continental Engines - Government of the Peoples Republic of China
  • Enstrom Helicopter Corporation - Chongqing Helicopter Investment Co, China
  • Epic Aircraft - Engineering LLC, Russia
  • Flightstar Sportplanes - rights, tooling and parts inventory purchased by Yuneec International, China
  • Glasair Aircraft - Jilin Hanxing Group, China
  • International Lease Finance Corp - 90% New China Trust Co Ltd, New China Life Insurance Co Ltd, P3 Investments Ltd and China Aviation Industrial Fund
  • Liberty Aerospace - 75% owned by the Kuwait Finance House, a wholly owned subsidiary of Kuwait Finance House of Bahrain
  • LISA Airplanes - 75% owned by Heima Mining Company, China
  • Mooney Aviation Company - Meijing Group, China
  • Piper Aircraft - Government of Brunei
  • Superior Air Parts - Weifang Tianxiang Technology Group, China
  • Thielert Aircraft Engines - Government of the Peoples Republic of China

External links

Update - 14 October 2013

According to the Wichita Eagle Mooney has received an investment from Soaring America Corporation which will allow it to restart production of the Acclaim Type S and the Ovation 2 and Ovation aircraft. It is unclear if Soaring America is related to the reported Meijing Group take-over or not as Soaring America President Cheng Yuan (Jerry Chen) indicated to Russ Niles of AVweb this week that he couldn't provide more information at this time.

Update - 21 October 2013

The details of Mooney's purchase are becoming a bit more clear as time goes by. According to AVweb Mooney has been purchased by Soaring American Corporation, a new company started in California last year with Cheng Yuan (Jerry Chen) from Taiwan as President and CEO. Chen, a PhD in aeronautical engineering, is now the new CEO of Mooney as well. It seems Chen represents a group of Chinese investors that may well include the Meijing Group, who have plans to restart Acclaim and the Ovation production and market the aircraft predominately to the Chinese market, which they feel is ripe for private aircraft and advanced trainers.

This video interview with Chen by AVweb outlines some of the ideas they are working towards:

See Also

07 October 2013

Ottawa Flying Club's 55th Annual Fly Day Was the Best Ever!

by Julie Marion and Marc Desjardins, Ottawa Flying Club Fly Day Event Coordinators

The fall season for the Ottawa Flying Club is also synonymous with Fly Day! Saturday September 28th to be exact was a very important date for our club. Not only does it demonstrate our flawless operations, it also showcases our club, our volunteers and The Rotary Club of Ottawa which once again was our sponsored charity.

The day broke with some fog in the outlying areas which prevented a few visiting and participating aircraft to fly-in but that did not hamper the start of Fly Day as scheduled with our first flight just after 9am. The sky was blue till the eye could see with a CAVOK forecast for the entire day! A total of 16 aircraft and +40 volunteers helped make Fly Day one of the best on record. As the last flight touched down at 17:15 pilots had taken up 313 people and helped raise over $11,000 for The Rotary Club of Ottawa!

Hundreds of hours were spent organizing this event but in the end it would not have been such a success without all of the volunteer pilots, marshallers and passenger escorts. Special thanks also go out to the MacDonald-Cartier International Airport Authority, Nav Canada, OFC Management, OFC Dispatch, Frank Schilder (Fly Day Load Master), Rob Schwartz and team (Fly Day Air Bosses), Paul Wagner (Lead Marshall), Peter Luff (Lead Passenger Escort), Charlene Mathias who surveyed the patiently waiting public, and also the numerous Algonquin College students who participated.

Enjoy the remainder of the fall flying season. Stay tuned for news of next year's event!

External links

SmartPilot.ca – Progress Report After 4 Months Live

Media Release

Canada’s single source web portal for all things related to flying safely has now been live for four months and is taking flight! The site is a one-stop source for information, interactive courses and content rich videos – all focussed on helping pilots stay fresh and current about flight operations. And as our registered users have found, the site is open and free to all. The material is applicable to all levels of pilots from student through to senior.

Since launching on 1 May 2013 we already have 528 registered users of the portal. While registration is not mandatory, it does allow on-line access to some features and also includes updates on new materials. In total since launching, we had just over 6,000 visits to the SmartPilot.ca web portal, of which 3,052 were unique visitors. This has resulted in 27,172 pages views or an average of 4.3 pages per visitor. These numbers illustrate the need and interest from Canada’s aviation community for flight safety material and self-improvement.

New materials continue to be developed for SmartPilot.ca. To date, SmartPilot.ca has created and posted 5 unique new video segments. These are in addition to the vast array of older, yet still pertinent materials posted. The new, purpose developed films cover:

Mountain Flying

  • Mountain Flying Intro
  • Navigation
  • Density Altitude
  • Weather
  • The 180° Turn
  • Tips
  • Lessons Learned

Aircraft Egress

  • Aircraft Egress
  • Aircraft Egress Tips
  • Preparing for an Emergency Water Landing

Uncontrolled Aerodromes

  • Uncontrolled Aerodromes Introduction
  • Departing an MF Aerodrome
  • Landing at an MF Aerodrome
  • Departing an ATF Aerodrome
  • Landing at an ATF Aerodrome

Other new material includes floatplanes, detailing both the preflight and passenger briefing and one on winter survival that provides information on a variety of aspects related to winter survival when something goes wrong.

About future initiatives, project lead Ted Rankine stated, "In final production and due for release soon is a much anticipated and requested series on Upset Training. Numbering 5 videos in total, our plans currently are to have these posted by late October 2013. Additionally the French variant on Mountain Flying should be up shortly as well."

Rankine also observes that "In addition to the web portal, SmartPilot.ca has put social media to work in promoting safe flight awareness and education. Both Facebook and Twitter accounts have been created and garnered a good following. On these pages, we post several times a week with links to videos, articles and training materials from the site. Collectively, this is getting the message out and noticed, and is helping to achieve the project goal of promoting safe and consistent aviation operations in many aspects of general aviation flying. Our associates and co-developers are as thrilled as I am with the response so far. Pilots of all skill levels are getting a lot out of this effort we hear – and best of all, it's all free!"

External link