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The History Of The Fastest Single-Engine Piston In The World

They say everything is bigger in Texas, and that includes the speed capabilities of the Mooney Acclaim Type S. With a top cruise speed of 237 knots, and Vne of 242 knots, it's the fastest civilian single-engine piston out there. Here's how it got to where it is today...

1) 1955 - The original M20, Al Mooney's 20th design, quickly became his most successful design.


2) Unfortunately, the M20 and M20A's wooden tails suffered several in-flight breakups to do water damage and wood rot.

3) 1960 - The M20B was type certified with a larger 180 hp engine and an all-metal tail.

Gunnison & Johannes

4) 1963 - The first high-performance Mooney, the M20E, featured a 200 hp fuel-injected engine.


5) 1976 - Mooney hired Roy LoPresti, who also worked on the Apollo Moon project, to improve the aerodynamics of the M20. His result was the M20J, named the "Mooney 201", due to its 201 mph top speed in level flight.


6) 1979 - Mooney designed its first 6-cylinder Continental powered airplane, the M20K. Cooling problems during takeoff and climb forced them to switch to an intercooled version of the engine a few years later.

D. Miller

7) 1988 - Mooney partnered with Porsche to use the unique Porsche PFM 3200 engine in the M20L.


8) 2001 - The M20S "Eagle 2" was introduced with a three-bladed prop and a 100 lb. gross weight increase.

9) 2006 - The M20TN "Acclaim" is the latest version of the M20, sporting a 280 hp Continental engine and a best-in-class cruise speed of 237 knots. Unfortunately, production was ended in 2008 due to the US economic downturn.


10) 2014 - After being purchased by Soaring America Corporation, the Mooney Acclaim is back in production, reclaiming its title of fastest civilian single-engine piston in the sky. And not only is it the fastest piston single in the sky, it's one of the best looking ones, too.

Mooney Aircraft

Colin Cutler

Colin is a Boldmethod co-founder, pilot and graphic artist. He's been a flight instructor at the University of North Dakota, an airline pilot on the CRJ-200, and has directed development of numerous commercial and military training systems. You can reach him at

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