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Rare Predator — Mooney’s M20T in Tiger Stripe

19 December 2012

Rare Predator — Mooney’s M20T in Tiger Stripe

27º 58′ 56″ N / 82º 01′ 40″ W

Mooney, manufacturer of the M20T Predator — photo by Joseph May

Mooney, manufacturer of the M20T Predator — photo by Joseph May

This a rare example — the sole example manufactured — of a variant in the highly succesful Mooney M20 line. The model of the aircraft featured in today’s post is the Mooney M20T Predator, a proposed training design for the U.S. Air Force. It is equipped with a more powerful engine as well as clear sliding canopy, as opposed to the conventional M20 design, but many more features are in common.

The M20 design first flew in 1953 with the M20T first flight in 1991. The forward portion of the fuselage is of tubular construction and the flaps are fully slotted — this is a lightweight but strong aircraft which can fly slowly. The most immediate remarkable characteristic of this Predator, of course, is the dramatic tiger inspired livery of three colors. Another eye-catching feature is the unraked nature of the vertical stabilizer’s leading edge — fooling most eyes into believing the vertical stabilizer to be forward leaning — though it is not.

The Florida Air Museum exhibits this rare and striking aircraft near the main museum entrance.

Rare Mooney M20T Predator at the entrance to the Florida Air Museum — photo by Joseph May

Rare Mooney M20T Predator at the entrance to the Florida Air Museum — photo by Joseph May

A better view of the unique three tone tiger stripe livery — photo by Joseph May

A better view of the unique three tone tiger stripe livery — photo by Joseph May

The Predator's nose — photo by Joseph May

The Predator’s nose — photo by Joseph May

The M20T's characteristic vertical leading edge as well as pivoting horizontal stabilizer — photo by Joseph May

The M20T’s characteristic vertical leading edge — photo by Joseph May

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