|Role||personal use aircraft|
|Manufacturer||Mooney Aircraft Company|
The M-18 design goal was extremely low operating costs. The Mite is constructed mainly of fabric-covered wood, with a single spruce and plywood "D" wing spar. The wing aft of the spar is fabric-covered.
The aircraft featured a unique "safe-trim" system. This mechanical device links the wing flaps to the tail trim system and automatically adjusts the horizontal stabilizer angle when the flaps are deflected, reducing or eliminating pitch changes when the flaps are lowered.
The Mooney Aircraft Corporation built a total of 283 Mites in Wichita, Kansas, and Kerrville, Texas, between 1947 and 1954. The first seven were powered by modified 25 hp (19 kW) Crosley automobile engines, but these proved to be troublesome. Production shifted to the M-18L powered by the four-cylinder, 65 hp (48 kW) Lycoming O-145 powerplant. The original Crosley-powered Mites were recalled and retrofitted with the Lycoming engines. The later M-18C used the Continental 65 hp (48 kW) aircraft engine.
The market for the single-seat M-18 was limited, so Mooney later developed the four-place M-20 to appeal to aircraft owners with families. In the early 1970s, Mooney offered plans for four different home-built versions of the M-18.
Factory production of the Mite ended in 1954. Leading up to this, the company was losing $1000 on each plane, which accelerated the development of the M20. Another factor was that Continental had ceased production of the engine used in the Mite due to a lack of demand.