Maintenance Matters

August 2008 Issue

Best Fuel Economy: Diamond, Mooney Win

Prius, meet Diamond Star and, yes, a Cessna 152. And just as in cars, there’s a big difference between best and worst in aircraft fuel economy.

Not to alarm you, but the highest price avgas in the U.S. recently topped $8, although the average hovers closer to the mid-5s. Long before this distressing development, a reader wrote with this suggestion: "You know, you really should look at the fuel economy of various airplanes. I’m beginning to wonder if there’s a big enough mileage difference to make it worth looking at something else." Answer: We can, we have and there is. A certain class of owner—OK, the cheap screws—have always considered fuel efficiency above all else, either because they don’t have to carry much in the airplane or they don’t want or need to go fast. Of such stuff are Mooney owners made. (And we can prove it.) Since it costs $250 to fill up a Cherokee, more owners than ever are dropping back to survival mode and asking what kind of capability 8 gallons an hour will buy. (More than you think, perhaps, but in any case better than padlocking the hangar door.)

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