As the drama around whether Mooney Aircraft will reopen, at least one out-of-state manufacturer is taking aim at furloughed Mooney employees.
Cubcrafters, a single-engine airplane manufacturer based in Yakima, Wash. has been using targeted Facebook posts in the Kerrville area to let potentially displaced Mooney employees know their skills could be used elsewhere.
“We invite any of the recently laid-off workers from the Mooney plant in Kerrville to think about joining our company,” the Facebook post read.
THE BIG PICTURE
Cubcrafters build inexpensive airplanes compared to Mooney, which has been described as a Porsche-like manufacturer. From 2017-2018, Cubcrafters delivered 41 planes compared to the 21 delivered by Mooney in the same period.
Cubcrafters currently offers four models and the planes are popular because of their affordable price. They are also popular in Alaska due to the planes’ short takeoff and landing capabilities. Cubcrafters website is as much Alaskan travelogue as it is about marketing aircraft.
“We know that the workers recently employed by Mooney Aircraft in Kerrville, and are, dedicated to those very same core values of excellence that we share,” the post read.
There’s been continued silence from the company other than some emails from anonymous people inside the company to complain about coverage or to let the media know that the plant is still closed.
However, reaction to the closure has not been met with surprise.
“A new Acclaim, for example, had a retail price of $800,000, but 10-year-old models with nearly identical performance are available for one-third or even one-fourth as much,” wrote Dave Hirschman in an article on the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association website. “Value-conscious Mooney pilots were reluctant to pay such a high premium for new airplanes.’’
THE FUTURE IS NOT BRIGHT
Many in the aircraft industry are not hopeful that Mooney will return.
“Given its string of shutdowns, bankruptcies, fire sales and stutter starts, saying that Mooney defines hope springs eternal is to do unspeakable violence to the concept,” wrote Paul Bertorelli in a Nov. 20 article for aviation website AVWeb. “Every new suitor seems to have approached the company thinking it could be sustainably righted and every one has failed.”