The Mooney M-18 "Mite" is a low-wing, single-place monoplane with retractable, tricycle landing gear.[1][2]

M-18 Mite
Mooney M-18C (N70DV).jpg
Mooney M-18C
Role personal use aircraft
Manufacturer Mooney Aircraft Company
Designer Al Mooney
First flight 1947
Introduction 1947
Produced 1947–1954[1][2]
Number built 283
Unit cost
US$2965 (price new in 1947)[2]
Variants Mooney M20
1949 model M-18L at Oshkosh 2001
Mooney M-18C
Mooney M-18C

The Mite was designed by Al Mooney and was intended as a personal airplane marketed to fighter pilots returning from World War II.[1]


The M-18 design goal was extremely low operating costs.[1] The Mite is constructed mainly of fabric-covered wood, with a single spruce and plywood "D" wing spar. The wing aft of the spar is fabric-covered.[2]

The airfoil selected for the design was the NACA 64A215.[3] The M-18 represented the first time a NACA 6-series airfoil had been used on a civil aircraft after World War II.[1]

The aircraft featured a unique "safe-trim" system. This mechanical device links the wing flaps to the tail trim system and automatically adjusts the horizontal stabilizer angle when the flaps are deflected, reducing or eliminating pitch changes when the flaps are lowered.[2]


The Mooney Aircraft Corporation built a total of 283 Mites in Wichita, Kansas, and Kerrville, Texas, between 1947 and 1954. The first seven were powered by belt driven,[4] modified 25 hp (19 kW) Crosley automobile engines, but these proved to be troublesome. Production shifted to the M-18L powered by the four-cylinder, 65 hp (48 kW) Lycoming O-145 powerplant. The original Crosley-powered Mites were recalled and retrofitted with the Lycoming engines. The later M-18C used the Continental A65 65 hp (48 kW) aircraft engine.[2][5]

The market for the single-seat M-18 was limited, so Mooney later developed the four-place M-20 to appeal to aircraft owners with families.[1] In the early 1970s, Mooney offered plans for four different home-built versions of the M-18.[6][7]

Factory production of the Mite ended in 1954.[1][2] Leading up to this, the company was losing $1000 on each plane, which accelerated the development of the M20.[8] Another factor was that Continental had ceased production of the engine used in the Mite due to a lack of demand.[9]

Operational historyEdit

As of January 2016, 119 Mites were still registered in the United States and three in Canada.[10][11]

Specifications (Mooney Mite M-18C)Edit

Data from A Field Guide to Airplanes - Second Edition,[1] Plane and Pilot: 1978 Aircraft Directory[2] & The Incomplete Guide to Airfoil Usage[3]

General characteristics



  • None installed at the factory


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h M.R. Montgomery & Gerald Foster: A Field Guide to Airplanes - Second Edition, p. 46. Houghton Milflin Company 1992. ISBN 978-0-395-62888-1
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Plane and Pilot: 1978 Aircraft Directory, p. 53. Werner & Werner Corp Publishing, 1978. ISBN 0-918312-00-0
  3. ^ a b Lednicer, David (October 2007). "The Incomplete Guide to Airfoil Usage". Retrieved 12 January 2008.
  4. ^ "Cessna Reveals Second Twin, New Belt Drive". Flying. October 1958. p. 50-b.
  5. ^ Ball 1998, p. 14.
  6. ^ Air Trails: 79. Summer 1971. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  7. ^ Greene, Sam (30 November 2004). "A Homebuilt Mooney Mite". Retrieved 29 July 2017.
  8. ^ Ball 1998, p. 49.
  9. ^ Ball 1998, p. 57.
  10. ^ Federal Aviation Administration (29 January 2016). "FAA REGISTRY - Make / Model Inquiry Results - Manufacturer Name Entered: MOONEY, Model Name Entered: M18". Retrieved 29 January 2016.
  11. ^ Transport Canada (29 January 2016). "Canadian Civil Aircraft Register". Retrieved 29 January 2016.
  12. ^ a b Bridgman 1955, p. 293.


  • Ball, Larry A. (1998). Those Remarkable Mooneys. Indianapolis: Ball Publications. ISBN 0-9641514-9-9.
  • Bridgman, Leonard (1955). Jane's All the World's Aircraft 1955–56. New York: The McGraw-Hill Book Company.