Used Aircraft Guide

March 2008 Issue

Used Aircraft Guide: Mooney M20R Ovation

Fast and comfortable, Mooney’s Ovation is what happens when you stretch a popular, proven airframe and mount an IO-550 on the front.

Airplanes are compromises: They’re never large enough, fast enough or light enough for all potential customers. And going faster is always a popular upgrade. After all, we don’t fly airplanes to go slow. Of the two basic ways to increase top speed—clean up the airplane’s aerodynamics or stuff in a larger engine—each has their benefits and drawbacks. But when one method has been tried, or reaches the point where further refinement isn’t cost effective, designers turn to the other. Mooney’s M20 series is something of Exhibit A for this practice: The basic airframe had been cleaned up over the years and powered by different engines, resulting in iconic models like the M20J Model 201 and its turbocharged sister, the 231. But after those models saturated their markets, going faster still meant bolting on a different, larger powerplant. After all, there’s no replacement for displacement. In this instance, take a long-fuselage Mooney, trade its small Lycoming for a big-bore Continental, make a few other refinements, and the result is a comfortable190-knot speedster known as the M20R Ovation. Still in production today, the Ovation has seen its share of evolution.

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