Published in Midwest Flyer – October/November 2020 issue
As reported by AOPA’s David Tulis in September, a group of U.S.-based general aviation aircraft owners and pilots have taken majority ownership of the financially challenged airplane manufacturer, Mooney International, pledging to support airplane owners, provide transparency, and make Mooney more competitive.
Mooney Acclaim aircraft owner, pilot, and CEO Jonny Pollack is part of an investor group with an 80-percent stake in the company that was previously owned by Chinese investors and mostly shuttered in early January with two partially completed aircraft still on the factory floor.
This move means the Kerrville, Texas, factory will soon be humming with activity to help keep the 7,000-aircraft fleet in the air.
In a letter posted to the aircraft maker’s website September 2, Pollack noted that “reports of Mooney’s death are greatly exaggerated. Mooney is, in fact, very much alive, up and running.” The letter indicated that changes at Mooney were “long overdue,” and include a “new culture” reflective of the brand’s loyal owners. Pollack’s letter pointed out that the transition includes new management “made up entirely of pilots and Mooney owners, giving the company a unique and valuable perspective going forward.”
Pollack became involved with the company after “some initial inquiries in 2019” when financial troubles resurfaced amid a trade war between the United States and China. Factory workers were initially caught off-guard when the company furloughed staff in November, called them back in December to hand-drive rivets and curve sheet metal, then gave them time off for the winter holidays. When they returned, they were abruptly told to go home, again.
“I’ve been running Mooney behind the scenes, literally since January,” Pollack told AOPA, “and we’ve been able to make parts and keep the brand alive!”