Mooney Bravo



This is a followup blog to “Bringing Home The Bravo – Part 1

So in my first couple of Bravo posts, I shared with you why I choose the Bravo and the process of actually starting to get it home. In the second part I will talk about the actual trip itself and how it went!

Mary and I took off from KFXE first thing in the morning with the goal of making it to KDVT the same day. The Bravo holds 120 gallons of fuel and at 10,500 to 12,500′ we planned for most of the trip, we would have a true airspeed of 185 to 190 Knots. So we could make the entire trip in a day with two fuel stops, weather permitting!

It was great having someone along besides just myself. When I told Mary I was going to pick up the plane, she immediately signed up for the trip, even after I told her I had never flown a Mooney before! Of course, the Mooney has no bathroom, so the planned stops had to take that into account. With 120 gallons onboard, it was more than possible the plane could fly longer than either of us! We targeted about four hours but since we were flying VFR, we could adjust that as necessary. It turns out that our first leg was actually 5.2 hours! Not too bad!

On our way

Our first leg took us Northwest out of the Fort Lauderdale area towards Palm Beach, across Lake Okeechobee and up over Sebring. My goal was to get away from the Everglades as quickly as possible, and not head out over the Gulf but rather stay over dry land as much as possible. Since I was very new to this plane and the area, I wanted a safe route in the event something happened.

Making our way up Florida

As we started out the trip, I decided to stay at 8,500′ although we would eventually get much higher enroute back to California. The 8,500′ was a comfortable altitude based on the current weather and winds and we had a nice view too!

Sunrise in Florida


We were not doing too bad on our fuel consumption at 8,500′. The EDM-930 was showing about 17 gallons per hour at 180 knots true air speed. I had the power dialed down to 2400 rpm and 30 inches of manifold pressure which was showing me at an 80% power setting.


EDM 930


As we continued toward Tallahassee we climbed to 10,500′ and at the same fuel burn our true airspeed and our ground speed increased. Not a huge amount, but it did increase! I can tell you, the EDM-930 is a fantastic piece of equipment and replaced all of the analog gauges in the Bravo.

Hanging out at 10,500′


Once we made Tallahassee, we plugged AXE into our GPS and headed towards Louisiana. The weather was still nice, but we could see some stuff building, nothing major but we would need to keep on pushing if we were going to make the trip in one day. They were starting to call for convective activity over central Texas and we still had a long way to go before we passed it.


Heading to KAEX


Coming up on KECP


Since this was our first long trip in the Mooney, we were playing with all of the gadgets the previous owner had installed. The Garmin G600 is a fantastic panel and the EDM930 gives you a very powerful view of all of the engine parameters at a glance. Of course, I would eventually redo the entire panel and interior to suit me, but that is a post for another day!

This was Mary’s first long cross country trip in a small airplane and she loved it. We had a fantastic trip and we really enjoyed the unique experience together.

Enjoying the ride


Looking good


So our first stop was in Alexendria Louisiana (KAEX). THe first leg of our journey took up 5.2 hours on the hobbs (which included taxi & run-up). In Alexendria we pumped 83 gallons of 100LL into the Bravo. At 5.2 hours on the hobbs, we averaged 16 gallons per hour over the first leg of the trip. The first leg was right around 800nm.



So after a much needed break, some fuel (for both the plane and for us) and some walking around, we were ready to take to the skys once again. We took off and headed towards Texas and watched as the weather started to build. By my calculations we could make it past the building storm, passing south of it without getting too close to the system.


Storm building


Picking up the storm on XM


Building fast!


Moving past the storm….


Phew…we made it past the system without getting caught up it in much at all. We ended up with a little turbulence and jumped between 8,500′ and 12,500′ to try and smooth it out, but in the end we just put up with it until we started our descent into Roswell, NM.



Our leg mileage from AEX to ROW worked out to be roughly 650 nautical miles which we did in 4.3 hours. Once at ROW we pumped 69 gallons of 100LL giving us an average of 16 gph for the second leg.

Our plan was to fuel and jump back into the air right away, but there was a frontal system that basically planted itself between us and Deer Valley (Phoenix Arizona) so it looked like we were going to be spending the rest of the day and night in Roswell NW. Thankfully we had our ID cards so we could move about freely without being worried about deportation!



One of the very cool things about Roswell (at least for me) was all of the aircraft sitting on the ramp. All kinds of jets from carriers all around the world sit in Roswell collecting dust and waiting to be purchased or put back on the line. It was an awesome site!

Sitting on the ramp at KROW


So after a wonderful day walking all over Roswell and picking up some shirts for us and the kids, we climbed aboard 87M and headed south towards El Paso to get around the White Sands Missile Range. No sense making ourselves more of a target then we needed to be!

Heading towards El Paso



DVT Ahead!


So with another 450 miles behind us we landed at Deer Valley Airport (KDVT) on the Northwest side of Phoenix Arizona. We used 52 gallons of 100LL and it took us 3.5 hours on the hobbs to make that leg.

Mary and I at DVT


Of course, all of the kids wanted to see the plane and check it out.

The girls like the plane…


Alien Encounter!


The following day I climbed about the Mooney and made the final leg to CRQ, my home base. The trip was amazing and it really gave Mary a feel for flying small airplanes. She helped with all the checklist work the entire trip and now she has started ground school for her private pilot’s certificate. Overall, another wonderful memory building experience!

Florida to California


Mooney N1087M

Once the decision had been made to purchase a Mooney, then came the hard part – finding the right Mooney. Everyone that knows me knows that I am a gadget guy. I like electronics, I like gadgets. So of course I looked for the Mooney with the most number of gadgets. I also looked at things like engine and airframe times, but those being mostly equal, the race would fall to price and gadget factor.

The Bravo was the right price range for what I was looking for in a plane, and that plane was perfect for my primary mission – from KCRQ (Carlsbad, CA) to KDVT (Deer Valley, Phoenix AZ). I was sure I would use it for other things as well, but that was my primary mission and one pretty well suited for the Bravo. Typical flight time for me between CRQ and DVT was figured around 1:45 at 17,000′. I could not wait to get the plane.

After spending a few weeks looking around and inquiring about different planes, I finally picked N1087M. The plane was located at KFXE (Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport) in Florida. The plane was at a reputable Mooney shop, a pre-buy was completed, logs were checked, a deal was struck and escrow was put into place. The last step was insurance. OUCH…this was going to hurt…I had ZERO time in a Mooney, much less one like the Bravo. One thing I had learned about the Mooney – you really needed to respect the plane and it’s approach and landing speeds.

After discussions with my insurance broker, I had everything lined up. I learned that I needed two whopping hours of dual instruction before I could carry passengers in the Bravo and that full-coverage insurance with zero deductibles was going to run me less for an entire year than a single month of insurance for my MD500. I was elated, this plane was getting cheaper by the minute!

Mary and I climbed aboard a commercial flight to Florida and later that day we arrived at KFXE and started the final inspection and test flight of the Bravo.

Getting the Bravo ready to go


After getting the dual instruction needed and learning a little bit about the panel and radios, Mary and I loaded up the Bravo and set off to bed, arising early the next morning to begin our trip across the country. Our route would take us over the Everglades, up over Tallahassee and eventually all the way to California. We topped off the 120 gallons of gas and off we went!

In part 2, I will share our route and more photos from the trip!

Our Intrepid Explorers!




Citation Jet

This particular blog entry is going to start a section on how I came about owning a Mooney Bravo and what it took to get it home and get it exactly the way that I wanted it. Watch for other entries on the Mooney!

Well, like most things in my life, I am never quite content with the way things are or how I get from place-to-place. It was not long ago that I loved the smell of jet fuel, the whine of the Williams engines and the exhilaration of the acceleration to V1 in the CJ as I headed for Phoenix. It started to wear off  as I realized that flying a jet capable of carrying seven people by myself was pretty boring. It really started to wear off when I realized that getting into and out of Phoenix, even in a jet capable if FL410 was a game for the airlines and I got jerked around by ATC pretty much every time. Often I was told to descend to 17,000′ right after crossing into Arizona. OUCH…the CJ burns a LOT of fuel at that altitude!

So my trips back and forth to Phoenix were running about 1,000 pounds of Jet-A each way at those altitudes. Thats about 150 gallons for those in the av-gas world. Let’s see…at $5.00 a gallon, 300 gallons round trip…hummm…..$1,500.00 round trip to DVT in the CJ. That does not count my Tap-Elite engine costs, etc – just the fuel costs. And I was going almost every weekend.

It became obvious that I needed something a lot more economical from my little trips to Phoenix, the fuel along was costing a small fortune.

So I set out to research another airplane. I have the 500 for times when I am not in a hurry and the weather is nice. I have the CJ for times when the weather is really bad or when I need to move 7 people all at once, but I needed something in-between. Something that was inexpensive to purchase, yet quick enough to make a short run out of the 350ish mile trip. I had owned the Cirrus SR22 and it was a great plane, but I was hoping for something a little bit quicker and nicer on the eyes. So I looked at, and discarded the idea of the SR22, the F33, A36, PA-46 and others. Nothing was catching my eye.

Then I ran into an article on the Mooney Bravo. Ah…now that was a good looking plane. It looked like it was doing 200 mph sitting still on the ramp. Not too big, four seats, plenty of power, plenty of fuel and most importantly, pretty inexpensive to operate. Now I had to actually find one that I wanted and was priced just right.

So after searching high and low and looking at engine times, avionics, interiors and talking to a lot of different folks that owned Mooneys, I choose a Bravo (N1087M) in Florida. Due to a mishap with its former owner, it had a factory new engine, factory new prop, a Garmin G600 and the EDM930 already installed in the airplane. I didn’t much care for the interior, the panel layout or the tail number, but all of those things can be changed.


So here is a picture of N1087M after we got her home. I will be posting several more articles chronicling the trip home from Florida in the Bravo with Mary!

Stay Tuned and thanks for reading.