Mooney Airplane Company is to flight test the new Rolls-Royce RR500 turboprop engine to evaluate it as a customer option for a new product that could be launched early in the next decade.
Signing a memorandum of understanding at the Experimental Aircraft Association´s AirVenture show in Oshkosh, Wisconsin on 31 July the two companies expect to agree a test programme schedule in the next couple of months. Neither company would comment on when an engine on-wing or flight test would take place. The RR500 was launched by R-R at AirVenture on 29 July.
"We want to work together to get this flying as soon as possible. We will use the M20 [long body] airframe, there are test airframes available. The Bravo will be re-engined [with the RR500]," says Texas based-Mooney chief executive Dennis Ferguson. The RR500 is of interest to Mooney because it can use a wide variety of fuels. The M20 airframe is the company´s current production airframe while Bravo is a legacy product that was replaced by the Acclaim.
R-R does not expect its RR500 engine to be ready for delivery until 2011, which is the general timeframe for the future Mooney product. The Texan company is considering other alternate fuel engines and looked at two others during the AirVenture event. Mooney is also participating in the General Aviation manufacturers association´s future Avgas strategy and transition plan.