mooney bravo vs rocket

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FRom your cirrus article I know you like the Mooney bravo. How does
that compare to the mooney rocket? Thinking about buying one in the
future. Can you give me some pros and cons of each?

-- Craig Jaces, November 19, 2007


Well, I've never flown a Rocket but I've owned two M20-K's and currently own a TLS. No question, the long body Mooney's are easier to fly. I never had a problem with a short body but the long body is smoother in pitch and flies better on AP. Mooney changed to a Continental for the acclaim, and people loved the Ovation, so the 520 is probably a very nice engine. My bet is that putting a vastly heavier engine on a short body would make the difference even more dramatic, and I'd bet that the Rocket runs out of elevator too soon at during landing and full forward CG. The change in weight might also mess up an autopilot. In my conversation with the Mooney factory in 1999, the head engineer claimed several reasons why a Rocket couldn't be a certified airplane: The short body doe not have enough rudder for the power, the landing gear isn't strong enough, etc. Is this all true? I don't know, but the Mooney people at that time seemed like pretty straight shooters. I've spoken to a couple of people who had a Rocket and the like them. I've spoken to many Bravo owners to love their planes also. My bias is that since the rocket is a conversion, not a production airplane, the advantages would have to be huge over some other option. I could have bought a Rocket but bought a TLS. So, here it is. The best plane is the Acclaim - I've flown it and it is, even with the crappy G1000, the best thing out there. Second, I'd recommend a used Ovation 2. That plane is fast and works better than the original 2 bladed version. Unless you really fly high, it has the best trade-off fuel economy and speed. Now your problem. If you can afford it and can find one with a crank that doesn't need to be replaced, my guess is that you are better off in a Bravo. It sucks a pile of gas, 20 GPH but that absolutely pales in comparison to what Rocket claims - 27 GPH!!!! The acclaim is faster, carries more and burns less fuel. The bravo is only a little slower than the Rocket (if the Rocket numbers are correct) and uses 5 GPH less per hour. The Bravo has more cargo space, dual Alternators, probably handles better, has built-in oxygen (which you really need if you fly high), and can be had with Known Ice. Even though Lycoming is at the bottom of my list now, since they made defective crankshafts and are trying to make the owners pay for them, this fact actually works in your favor, because Lycoming has beaten down the market price for Bravos. STC requirements are not the same as certification requirements, so with due respect to what Rocket did and noting that I've never really heard anything bad about them (though haven't done and new research, my personal choice would be to pick a standard Mooney of some variety. By the way, the 201 with Monroy tanks is very efficient, and ver long range airplane - but 160 or so KTS is too slow for my taste.

-- Richard Amster, November 30, 2007

Well I just bought a 1988 252 Mooney (Rocket) and am able to enlighten you on some numbers after 20 hrs experience and a couple of long flights. The forward C of G issue is easily solved, I trained for a day with 2 up front and about 30 lbs in the baggage area and there was lots of tail authority in the flare. The fuel burn is no where near 27 gph, ROP it's 18-19gph at 70% power. It will fly LOP smoothly (16.6 gph)and still true 195 KTS at 10,500. The climb is exciting, I left ADA OK after some GAMI jets installed and let it rip at full power climb of 135-140 KTIAS and 1,500/min! all the way up to 10,500 in 7 minutes or so. You don't need A/C just climb till it cools down to your liking. I am very plaeased with the combo, it's close to my 601A turbo Aerostar for half the fuel. With 105 gal Monroy tanks you've got a great airplane, it has 530, EDM 930 and I'm installing GDL69A and a couple other gadgets to make it a completely capable travelling machine. The price is still reasonable and I got an 1,800 hr airframe with 50TT engine and prop (prop strike).

-- Donald Shapansky, July 3, 2008

so is the m20K/rocket a short medium or long body mooney?

-- marvin dotson, July 26, 2008

The K is the same body as a J, so I guess you would call it a medium. The Porsche engine mooney was the first long body, and the TLS/Bravo, Ovation, Eagle, and Acclaim have all gone in that fuselage. The Acclaim has some mods to the wings as well. The long is stretched for more seat travel in front (or rear leg room if the person in front is using the rudder), and a larger baggage area (which becomes HUGE if you take out the rear seat backs), and more elbow room due to new side panels and insulation. You can use a kit to upgrade the J's and K's for similar width, but it is definitely not cheap.

The real beauty of the Ovation and Acclaim is that the Continental 550 makes the larger plane a virtual free lunch to the J's and K's. The J's and K's are still great planes, but for most folks, the larger plane is more than worth the price increase. I get 170 knots at 12 NMPG in my Ovation without having to use oxygen. I can do a lot better on average by using oxygen when I can catch a good tailwind up high.

-- Eric Warren, July 28, 2008

I thank you for comments on the bravo and rocket. It in some way answers some of my questions about the various types of mooney. I like to read more about your opinions on mooney. Gardar.

-- Gardar Gislason, February 7, 2011