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Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Cross-country speed record
Article Type: Mini features From: Aircraft Engineering and Aerospace Technology: An International Journal, Volume 80, Issue 4
Alex Coley was bitten by the flying bug when he was a child. But, the urge to set a world speed record in his own airplane did not strike until he was bringing his brand new Mooney Acclaim home from the factory in Kerrville to Craig Airport in Jacksonville, Florida early in 2007. That’s when he and his flight instructor Tim Wadsworth realised they were cruising at 350 knots and wondered what the cross-country record was for a single engine airplane. They not only found out, but on Saturday, 26 January 2008, they established two new ones, flying from San Diego’s Lindbergh Field to Crag Field in Jacksonville, Florida in an elapsed time of 6 h and 59 min, setting a transcontinental flight record as well as a record over a recognised course between the two cities.
According to the Mooney Airplane Company, the flight reinforced the Acclaim’s position as the world’s fastest production single engine piston aircraft in a dramatic and impressive way. Coley and Wadsworth averaged more than 305 miles/h and achieved a top speed of 412 miles/h during the flight, which included an impressive 12-minute fuel stop at Mooney’s home airport, Louis Schreiner Field in Kerrville, Texas, which happened to be very near the mid-point of the trip.
The record flight, which has been submitted to the National Aeronautics Association (NAA) for review and certification as a record for piston powered aircraft in the 2,205-3,358 lb. category, is the second cross-country record flight by an Acclaim in the past year. On 6 April 2007, an Acclaim set a world record for speed over a recognised course between San Diego, California and Charlotte, North Carolina piloted by noted aviation reporter and author Scott Perdue. His record between San Diego’s Gillespie Field and Charlotte – a distance of 1,800 nautical miles – was, coincidentally, accomplished in the same total elapsed time of 6 h and 59 min! He reached a top speed of 313 knots at 25,000 ft, stopping at Norman, Oklahoma for fuel.
Alex, who became a Mooney owner for the first time in January of last year, flew his Acclaim (N207AR), serial number 12, on the record flight. Since he is still working on his instrument rating, he elected to team with Wadsworth, a 4,000 h CFII, for the attempt. “I’ve been interested in airplanes and flying since my Mom worked for an aircraft dealer when I was eight years old,” Alex said, “but I didn’t have the time or opportunity to do anything about it until recently,” the commercial real estate developer explained. “My friend, John, was a Blue Angel, and he counseled me to get my instrument rating before I started buying airplanes, too, so that’s what I’m doing. I just couldn’t think of a more enjoyable way to build some experience toward the rating than flying across the country at 25,000 feet at a record pace,” he continued.
Alex was aided in his speed record quest by the same people who helped him acquire his record-setting aeroplane – Earle Boyter and the sales team at Premier Aircraft Sales, Inc., Mooney’s Sales Representatives headquartered in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. “The folks at Premier not only helped me choose the right airplane to meet both my business and personal flying needs, they recognised right away that I wasn’t going to be happy spending my money to acquire an airplane that didn’t have state of the art avionics and world class performance. I didn’t want to invest in ‘yesterday’s news’ by buying a used airplane. They have supported me throughout the process of learning to fly, selecting the Acclaim and preparing for this record flight. I’ve been able to fly more than 300 hours this year and will have my instrument rating in the near future. I really appreciate their help,” he added.
Alex also indicated that this is only the first of what he hopes will be a number of record-setting flights in his Acclaim. “We’re looking at possibly following Lindbergh’s route or something like that,” he noted. That’s no small order for a guy who has gone from a new pilot to world record holder in less than a year.
About Mooney Airplane Company
Mooney Airplane Company, located in Kerrville, Texas, is a wholly owned subsidiary of Mooney Aerospace Group, Ltd, a general aviation holding company. Mooney Airplane Company currently produces one of the world’s fastest, most efficient single engine piston-powered aircraft – the Acclaim, Ovation3 and Ovation2 GX. All come with standard equipment that includes the Garmin G1000 integrated avionics suite and the Garmin GFC 700 Automatic Flight Control. Since its inception in 1946, the company has manufactured and delivered more than 11,000 aircraft world-wide. Today, more than 7,000 customers in the USA and 1,000 more overseas fly these proven, high-performance airplanes.
Details available from: Mooney Airplane Company, web site: www.mooney.com