Did you ever wish you could have your own personal "fighter", an airplane that would fly at speeds of 120-130 m.p.h., sipped 3.5 gallons of gas per hour, and only cost $1995?
Well, Al Mooney was sure that you would so he designed a cute little single place airplane called the Mooney M-18 "Mite".
It was certified and produced from 1948 to 1955 with a total of 283 Mites being built.
I first saw a Mooney Mite when I was a teenager; it was hanging from the rafters in a barn that was owned by a business customer of my Father. It was one of several other airplanes being stored there and was painted yellow.... I'll never forget it.
It seemed a shame that the Mite was reduced to "flying" from the rafters. I was told that Mooney Mites were originally powered by Crosley "Cobra"- COpper BRAzed automobile engines. I found that interesting because my brother just happened to own a 1952 Crosley Custom Sedan at the time!
As I recall, the performance of the auto was poor with the 25- h.p. liquid cooled engine so I imagine that the performance of the M-18 Mite might not be spectacular either. As a matter of fact, the performance of the Crosley engine (now called a Mooney CC46M-2, see photo on the left) was inadequate which caused Mooney to exchange the engines in the first 10 production Mites with a more reliable 65-h.p. Lycoming (0-145-B2) engine.
Later models also used a Continental (A65-12, or -8) when the Lycoming engine became unavailable.The performance with the new engine increased the cruise speed from 85 m.p.h. to 125 m.p.h., rate of climb increased from barely 300 f.p.m. to 1000 f.p.m.
Al Mooney was well on his way to producing a great flying airplane.
It did fly well but sadly the sales were not there and production ended in 1955.