Adopted from Mooneyland:
The Mooney M20-L PFM (Porsche Mooney) was a wonderful idea and the greatest advancement in general aviation since the removal of wing struts (sorry 172 owners). Not only did the plane have the aviation version of the Porsche 911 engine(220 HP), but it was all electric and no vacuum system aboard. It used an electric 3 buss 2 battery system to drive everything aboard including the most expensive and outright beautiful and special operating instruments where each instrument looked like a fine Swiss watch makers' result. My understanding at the time was that to replace those instruments would run in the neighborhood of $16,000.00 which was a lot of geetum back in 1988. There were a total of 40 PFM's made in 1988 and 1 in 1989 before Mooney called it quits for the PFM. There were several reasons for its demise and a loss of MILLIONS in development costs for Mooney as well as Porsche. Some of those reasons were COST: Not wanting to sell the plane in the RED as was the case with the Pressurized Mooney M-22 Mustang, Mooney sold the PFM for about $190K on average out the door price while the much faster 252 was selling for about 5 grand less, and after all, it’s all about speed right? Some of the other factors were the composite prop which had a blade life of 1500 hours and a heavy cost of replacement blades as well as an automatic $5800.00 (at the time) to overhaul the gear reduction system, again each 1500 hours. It was to my thinking a good trade-off as Porsche had a program to do aFREE top overhaul at about 1,000 hours and a guarantee to sell you a BRAND NEW engine for only $20,000.00 once your old one reached the 2,000 hour TBO.Porsche was in the process to up the TBO to 4,000 hours once they could prove to the FAA what they already knew, that it was a very strong, bullet proof engine!Porsche was also in the process of upping the horse power of that engine to over 250 and put a turbo charger on it. That would have really been a GOER! Proper marketing did not take place in my opinion of this fabulous airplane that I for one was much saddened to see it go. The PFM was about the easiest HIGH PERFORMANCE airplane to ever take to the sky. There was no MIXTURE nor PROPELLER control! There was just this sexy POWER SLIDE BAR that you would push right in as fast as you wanted and linkage (not computerization as many thought) would regulate the mixture and prop setting. Very ingenious! And because the911 style engine had its own cooling fan, there was never a worry of shock cooling that engine. You could easily and worry free pull off all of the power for descent if you wanted, so “SLAM DUNK” approaches were made much easier than any previous Mooney ever made. While I am not the most avid fan of the “super stretch” Mooney body (12" more than the 252, and 22" total stretch over the original M20 airframe) that ALL new Mooney use today, the PFM was the first to get that body.The windows were the same size as the 252 instead of the much larger viewing area used today, but as I said the body is the same. Because of the shape of the engine, the PFM’s cowl was more streamlined looking than any other Mooney, in fact it looked much like a Turbine engine was under the bonnet. I loved flying the PFM and found it to exceed the specs in the owners manual and even though it had the super stretch, heavier body, the performance to me was more than admirable on not much more horsepower than the 201. Cruising in the low to mid 160 KT range was an easy achievement and my feeling was that when (if) the turbo version would have made it to fruition, we would have had a 200 KT Porsche. I miss that engine; it was as easy to start as any automobile and the sound if the PFM taxiing by was pure Porsche 911! The yokes, the instrumentation, the fit and finish, the engine, the sound, the flying qualities………….man I miss that Model and I miss what it could have become; so next time you start complaining that today’s aircraft engines are actually 1940’s design, remember the (ahead of its time) ENGINE DESIGN we all let get away!
EPILOG: April 2009. Porsche contacted the FAA and said that they no longer support the PFM engine and therefore there will be no parts available and requested the FAA remove the PFM's Type Certificate. The FAA wasn't all that "knee jerk" this time and DID NOT ground the PFM, but it did state that should the engine require parts at maintenance and none were available, that would in effect ground the airplane and that particular one would lose its Type Certificate and so on until every last remaining PFM requires parts, so it's as good as over and they airframes will need a conversion. Problem is that no one I know is doing that "Ovation" conversion to the PFM any longer, and while you can get parts to do it, you cannot order the log book supplement that has to accompany the conversion. You remaining PFM guys are going to have to get creative or get stuck with a very heavy and beautiful paper-weight....end.