Aviation in the News: 737Max and Mooney.
The following two items are courtesy of Avweb:
737Max: Boeing believes it could resume deliveries of its grounded 737 MAX model as early as December, according to a progress report released by the company on Monday. The report also outlined five key milestones the company needs to reach with the FAA before the aircraft returns to service in the U.S. The first, an FAA eCab simulator certification session, was completed last week. Boeing emphasized that it is still targeting the final quarter of 2019 for certification of the aircraft’s updated flight control software.
“Based on this schedule, it is possible that the resumption of MAX deliveries to airline customers could begin in December, after certification, when the FAA issues an Airworthiness Directive rescinding the grounding order,” Boeing said. “In parallel, we are working towards final validation of the updated training requirements, which must occur before the MAX returns to commercial service, and which we now expect to begin in January.”
The milestones still to be accomplished include a “multi-day simulator session with airline pilots to assess human factors and crew workload,” an FAA certification flight test, submission of the “final certification deliverables and artifacts” to the FAA and a simulator training evaluation by the Joint Operational Evaluation Board (JOEB). Last week, both Southwest and American Airlines pushed the expected return to service dates for their MAXs to March 2020. The MAX was grounded in March 2019 after the fatal crashes of Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302.
Mooney: Two weeks before Thanksgiving, Kerrville, Texas-based Mooney Aircraft has reportedly shut down and released its entire staff, the Kerrville Daily Times is reporting. The Times reported and we can confirm that Mooney’s voicemail system states that “At this time, all Mooney employees have been furloughed and therefore we cannot take your call.” We have been unable to reach any of Mooney’s staff or management, and we understand that the firm’s workforce was down to just 50 preceding the furlough.
To those watching Mooney’s sales numbers over the first half of this year, the shutdown is probably not a huge surprise. According to GAMA sales records, Mooney sold two Acclaim Ultras in each of the first two quarters, after selling 14 aircraft at a value of $10.7 million in 2018. For context, Cirrus sold 203 aircraft in the first half of 2019, while Mooney’s output trailed Extra, Pipistrel and Quest’s.
At AirVenture 2018, Mooney said that it intended to build 20 aircraft that year but would ramp up toward 40 in 2019 and maintain 50 aircraft a year starting in 2020. Mooney’s workers were furloughed in 2017, four years after restarting production under new owners Soaring America Aircraft. Mooney had not been producing new aircraft for nearly five years before that. The last Acclaim Ultras to roll out the door were valued at nearly $850,000 each.
Wright Brothers Master Pilot, FAA Commercial Pilot
Aviation Director, Cessna Owners Organization Forum Moderator and Cessna Owners Author.
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