The Mooney M-18 "Mite" is a low-wing, single-place monoplane with retractable, tricycle landing gear.
The Mite was designed by Al Mooney and was intended as a personal airplane marketed to fighter pilots returning from World War II.
The Mite is constructed mainly of fabric-covered wood construction, with a single spruce and plywood "D" wing spar. The wing aft of the spar was fabric covered.
The airfoil selected for the design was the NACA 64A215. The M-18 represented the first time that a NACA airfoil had been used on a civil aircraft after World War II.
The aircraft featured a unique "safe-trim" system. This mechanical device linked the wing flaps to the tail trim system and automatically set the trim correctly for most flight attitudes.
The aircraft was designed to offer extremely low operating costs.
The Mooney Aircraft Corporation built a total of 283 Mites in Wichita, Kansas, and Kerrville, Texas, between 1947 and 1955. The first few were powered by modified 25 hp Crosley automobile engines but production shifted to the M-18L powered by the four cylinder, 65 hp Lycoming O-145 powerplant and finally the M-18C with the Continental C-65 aircraft engine.
The market for the single seat M-18 was limited and so Mooney developed the four place M-20 to appeal to aircraft owners with families.
Factory production of the Mite ended in 1954.
As of November 2005, 172 Mites were still registered with the United States FAA.
Specifications (Mooney Mite M-18C)
Crew: one pilot
Length: 18 feet 0 inches (5.58 m)
Wingspan: 26 feet 10 inches (8.20 m)
Airfoil: NACA 64A215
Empty weight: 520 lbs (236 kg)
Loaded weight: 780 lbs (354 kg)
Useful load: 260 lbs (118 kg)
Max takeoff weight: 780 lbs (354 kg)
Powerplant: 1× Continental Motors C-65 driving a wooden propeller, 65 hp (49 kW)
Maximum speed: 138 mph (224 km/h)
Cruise speed: 125 mph (203 km/h)
Stall speed: 43 mph (70 km/h)
Range: 440 statute miles (712 km)
Service ceiling: 19,400 feet (5969 m)
Rate of climb: 1090 ft/min (5.6 m/s)
Power/mass: 12 lb/hp (0.14 kW/kg)