Category Archives: Featured

Mooney Consolidating in Texas

Article by: Dave Hirschman, AOPA Pilot Editor at large

About 40 employees based in Chino were focused on designing and building the two-seat M10J and M10 Trainers.  Mooney intends to continue moving forward on those projects, but there’s no timetable for completing or certifying them.


“The M10 concept is very important to our investor group.” said Lance Phillips, a Mooney marketing executive.  “It’s extremely important.”

Mooney has been owned by the Meijing Group, a Chinese real estate conglomerate, since 2013, and the company planned to manufacture M10s in China.


At Kerrville, where Mooney builds four-seat M20 Ovations and Acclaim Ultras, the company has sold all seven of the two-door models currently in production.  Money officials declined to discuss how many additional airplanes have been sold, or the size of its production backlog.

Mooney has gone through a series of boom-and-bust cycles during more than 60 years of aircraft production at Kerrville.  The Kerrville factory endured a five-year period of forced hibernation that ended in 2013 with a large-scale investment from China.


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Bending Branch Awarded Gold Medal in the Lone Star International Wine Competition

Everyone is Buzzing About the Wine Competition Results
Congratulations to All!
The 34th Lone Star International Wine Competition hosted 598 wines and 34 wine bottle labels from 96 wineries in Texas, from other states and two countries.  Judging was completed on June 6 with 12 Double Gold Awards, 91 Gold Medals, 269 Silver Medals, 224 Medals, 6 Best in Varietal, and 12 Grand Star Best of Show.  WOW!  The most wines ever awarded at a Lone Star International Wine Competition.
Kerr County’s Bending Branch Winery was awarded the following medals in the Red Table Wine Division:
Silver Medals in the international Competition for their 100% Souzao (NV) and 100% Tempranillo (2014)
Silver Medal in the Limited Production Competition  for their 100% Tannat (2013)
Silver Medal in the Texas Wine Competition for their 100% Tannat (2013) and 100% Tempranillo (2014)
GOLD MEDAL in the Texas Wine Competition for their 100% Mourvedre (2014)
Take a look at the winners and begin to shout the story on Social Media.  Texas wines really made an impact at the competition.
To view the full list of  entries and winners click here:  2017 LSIWC Medal Report
Visit Bending Branch Winery

A CEO’S Guide to Leading Digital Transformation

The Boston Consulting Group (BCG. Perspectives)

MAY 22, 2017 Martin Danoesastro , Grant Freeland , and Tom Reichert

This article is part of an ongoing series exploring changes in the workplace and in the nature of work. The first piece explored 12 megatrends, such as automation, big data, demographics, and diversity, that are revolutionizing the way work gets done. Subsequent publications will explore digital governance, talent, and culture.

The success of a transformation depends on an organization’s leaders, especially the CEO. In digital transformations, the CEO is even more critical because of the magnitude of change, the degree of disruption, and the power of inertia.

Digital transformation requires new ways of working, not just new technology. The scarcest resource at many companies is not necessarily technological know-how but leadership. Leaders need the ability to sift through an avalanche of digital initiatives, manage accelerating innovation cycles, and reshape the organization around new approaches such as agile.

Here are five golden rules of digital transformation for CEOs to follow.


Established companies need to embrace the innovations that are powering the digital economy. Digital natives such as Uber, Airbnb, and Spotify, for example, have successfully attacked the taxi, lodging, and music industries by meeting customer needs in new ways and taking advantage of technological innovation. Equally important, these companies have created new operating models and cultures.

Incumbents need to learn from the successes of these attackers, not assume that such lessons don’t apply or make only slight adjustments to the status quo. CEOs should carefully study how they can broadly apply new ways of working, new levels of customer service, and new technology platforms to their own organization. It’s not enough to take a quick road trip to Silicon Valley or Bangalore or put a tech executive on the board of directors.

At the same time, companies should not abandon their core strengths and culture. An organization that has been around for 50 or 100 years or more has enduring and proven qualities that do not just vanish in the digital age. The turnaround of the LEGO Group, for example, one of the most famous business stories of this century, was conceived as both a bridge to the digital future and a return to the past. “LEGO had lost its focus and its core…. What was it really that this company did better than anybody else?,” recalled Jørgen Vig Knudstorp, the CEO who orchestrated the transformation. “There’s an incredible community around the LEGO brand and the LEGO brick, and we didn’t nurture it well. Those were the things we started addressing, and that led us on an incredible journey of very strong growth for more than a decade.”


Vision creates intention and establishes direction and ambition. Plans lay out responsibility and deliverables. Vision and plans are both critical requirements in a transformation. But digital transformations require room for course corrections. It’s impossible to button up every last detail and identify the transformation’s precise landing place.

Leaders, in other words, need to articulate a broad strategic outline and the purpose and context for change. But they also need to be open to feedback from people in the organization, from customers, and from partners. They need to be able to course correct. We call this approach adaptive leadership.

Adaptive leadership is not code for indecisive leadership. One commonsense way to become more adaptive is to perform more frequent reviews. Quarterly business reviews replace annual planning cycles. Course corrections happen weekly or even daily instead of monthly.

Another commonsense idea is to force face-to-face interactions to resolve differences. ING, the bank based in the Netherlands, has hardwired these interactions into decision making by running its digital transformation from an Obeya room. The room is “the heart of ING’s transformation,” says Roel Louwhoff, the bank’s chief operating officer and chief transformation officer. “The purpose is simple: having a full overview of the status of all projects and solving issues quickly. If an issue can’t be solved in five minutes, it’s escalated to the next level.”


In the same way that leaders must establish a broad vision but allow for improvisation, they also need to take more than one approach to digital transformation. The level of volatility and ambiguity in the market makes it impossible for leaders to know precisely what will work and what technological and analytical capabilities they may need to acquire. There are at least two types of bets that companies should consider:

  • Open Innovation. Companies that have successfully transformed themselves generally participate in broader digital, innovation, and mobile ecosystems. They tap into developments beyond the organization and let outsiders improve upon their bundle of products and services. In open-banking initiatives, for example, many banks publish APIs, or entryways into their software, that allow financial technology startups to build add-on services.
  • Portfolio Construction. In terms of deal making, partnering, and venturing, digital transformations are built on many small, manageable bets. Companies should evaluate dozens of different approaches, investments, and partnerships; pilot or incubate a few; and then build and scale up only the most promising. These exercises need to occur in the context of the overall vision. “Let a thousand flowers bloom” is a nice slogan, but it can be a recipe for losing focus and wasting resources.



City invites teen input on survey

Story by Susan McFarland, Staff Writer for the Kerrville Daily Times

An entertainment venue – such as Main Event – unique retail outlets that cater to young people, Kayak rentals along the Kerrville River Trail and a bicycle share program are a few of the things Tivy High School Students say the City needs.

Their input was sought by Kerrville city staff last week as an addendum to the recent community wide survey conducted by the municipality.

Participating were about 50 students from a wide array of student groups, including athletes, those in the Junior
Reserve Officer Training Corps and various leadership teams.

“We wanted to reach out to a group that wasn’t very well represented through our citizen survey,”  Katilin Berry, public information officer for the city.

Out of the 1,800 surveys mailed to randomly selected households, there were 513 surveys returned,  Berry reported.  Out of those, 200 were from people older than 65, and only 4% were from people ages 18 to 24.

Brian O’Connor, head of the Kerrville Economic Development Corporation, helped facilitate the discussion, along with members of the Kerrville Area Chamber of Commerce and the Kerrville Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The same type of discussion was held with members of the Schreiner University Student Senate last week, Berry said.

What items were on the high school students’ wish list?  More restaurants, a bowling alley, internet cafe, updated parks (aside form Louise Hays Park, which they love) and pedestrian-friendly walkways throughout the city.

“Everyone is attracted to kerrville, but when you get here, you’re bored to death,” said Bailey Havis.  It would ruin it if we completely changed Kerrville.  We just need to revamp it, be true to Kerrville…maybe a cool pool with a volleyball park.”

Students also want to see businesses that give student discounts, a driver’s education center and more part-time job opportunities.

They identified the city’s strengths as Kerrville’s “community feel”, noting the city is friendly, safe, has a beautiful natural environment, great community theaters with a good mix of shows and, of course, Tivy Pride.

Students were asked to fill out a form with questions about whether they plan on staying in Kerrville after graduation, how they get around in the city (by bicycle or car), how often they shop in Kerrville, what cities they go to for shopping, and how they feel about recreational, restaurant, and entertainment choices.

Berry said the students’ feedback will be used as the city moves forward, particularly as city leaders plan growth and development.

“We hope all this data will be useful if the city engages in a new comprehensive planning process, which the city council has expressed an interest in pursuing,”  Berry said.

Uber to launch electric VTOL aircraft in Dallas and Dubai

By Elan Head from Vertical Magazine   A new generation of electric air taxis could dramatically transform low-altitude urban airspace within the next decade — although these small vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) aircraft are unlikely to replace helicopters as we know them. The e-VTOL revolution is being led by the ride-sharing technology company Uber, which has convened the Uber Elevate Summit in Dallas, Texas, this week to explore a future in which electric aircraft would radically expand urban mobility. Why Dallas? As Uber chief product officer Jeff Holden announced on Tuesday, Dallas will be one of two launch cities for the Uber Elevate concept — the other being Dubai, United Arab Emirates. According to Holden, Uber aims to deploy its first air taxis in these cities by 2020. “Dallas is the perfect place because it has this rich history of aviation,” Holden told the crowd at the Elevate Summit. The Dallas-Fort Worth area also has supportive local governments, a real estate development partner eager to start building the necessary infrastructure, and aviation companies — including Bell Helicopter — that are fully behind Uber’s vision. That vision is at once more practical and more ambitious than the longstanding science fiction fantasy of personal flying cars. While personal VTOL aircraft have always promised exceptional mobility, large-scale deployment of individually owned aircraft would present a host of safety, training, and deconfliction concerns. Instead, Uber imagines a near-term future in which small e-VTOL aircraft would be operated commercially from established vertiports as on-demand air taxis. Cleaner and quieter than helicopters thanks to their electric propulsion — and consequently more readily tolerated by urban residents — these e-VTOLs could be deployed in numbers that would enable high production volume manufacturing and associated economies of scale. Indeed, Holden predicted that in the near term, an e-VTOL air taxi’s cost per passenger mile could be as low as US$1.32, comparable to the present cost of an UberX transport. In the long term, he said, the cost per passenger mile could fall below the variable cost of a passenger car, which could encourage more people to rethink car ownership altogether. “If we can provide ubiquity and low cost, people will actually dispense with their privately owned vehicle,” Holden said. But achieving that kind of efficiency and affordability will require a very specific design approach — one that, among other things, trades hover performance for efficiency in cruise flight. As Uber observed in a white paper published in October 2016, helicopters are designed for military and multi-use roles that require sustained hovering for extended periods of time, and are relatively inefficient in cruise flight. By contrast, e-VTOL air taxis will spend most of their time in cruise flight and can be optimized accordingly. On the first day of the Elevate Summit, Aurora Flight Sciences unveiled one approach to that kind of design optimization. Based on the XV-24A X-plane that Aurora is developing for the U.S. Department of Defense, the company’s proposed e-VTOL air taxi uses multiple rotors low to the ground for hover capability, and wings and a rear-mounted propeller for forward flight. According to Aurora e-VTOL program manager Diana Segel, the aircraft was designed to be extremely simple and efficient, and has already flown successfully in a subscale version. “We really feel we have a viable concept here that can be realized near term because of its simplicity, and that we can also make available for a very attractive cost, compared to more complex designs,” she said. Aurora isn’t the only company with a vision for e-VTOL air taxis. Also on Tuesday, Carter Aviation Technologies president and CEO Jay Carter announced that his company is partnering with Mooney International on an e-VTOL aircraft based on Carter’s Slowed Rotor Compound (SR/C) technology. And, the German startup Lilium presented its concept for a five-place e-VTOL jet that promises a 300-kilometer (185-mile) range and 300 km/hr cruise speed. Major aircraft manufacturers are also jumping on the e-VTOL bandwagon. At the Elevate Summit, A3, the Silicon Valley outpost of Airbus, discussed its previously announced e-VTOL concept, Project Vahana. According to A3 head of autonomous systems Arne Stoschek, vehicle development is underway in Silicon Valley, and the company has already completed some subscale flights. Bell Helicopter is also actively involved in e-VTOL development. Although the company did not unveil a specific aircraft concept at the summit, director of engineering innovation Scott Drennan told attendees that Bell will have a “modular, adaptable and scalable” design. He said that Bell’s concept will be “agnostic” with respect to energy storage, able to accommodate both electric and hybrid electric systems. But developing and certifying appropriate aircraft is only half the battle. A viable network of e-VTOL air taxis will also require significant investments in infrastructure, including vertiports with charging facilities. In Dallas, Uber is partnering on initial vertiport development with the real estate developer Hillwood, whose chairman, Ross Perot Jr., is also an accomplished pilot. Speaking at the Elevate Summit, Perot expressed optimism that the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area will erect its first vertiports within the next few years, beginning with a vertiport at Hillwood’s Frisco Station development, just north of Dallas. “At the big entertainment hubs in North Texas, we can fairly quickly get these vertiports up,” he said. “It’s going to be wonderful to bring more and more people into this aviation community.” Uber anticipates that on-demand e-VTOL air taxi operations will begin with piloted aircraft operating within existing air traffic control (ATC) systems. However, as operations expand, new ATC systems will be needed to handle the volume of traffic, and the aircraft will likely transition to largely or fully autonomous operations — which will present additional certification hurdles. Given the myriad challenges involved, it could be quite some time before Uber’s vision is fully realized. But the company maintains that the potential benefits in terms of urban mobility and livability warrant its ambitious approach. Of this brave new world — in which car ownership is optional, and nightmare commutes are a thing of the past — “we just want to usher it in as fast as possible because we all want to live in this world,” Holden said. - See more at:  

Travel + Leisure Magazine ranks Pint and Plow 15th in The Best Breweries in the U.S.

by Jessica Plautz (Travel + Leisure Magazine)

Looking for a way to celebrate National Beer Day, which falls on April 7 each year? Look no further than these breweries across the United States.

This list comes from Yelp, which ranked breweries in the country using an algorithm that looked at the quantity and quality of reviews in the past year. Only two breweries per state could make the list, so you’ll likely find one near you.

All of these establishments brew beer on site, so start making your happy hour plans right… NOW.

Read the Yelp Reviews about Pint and Plow here

Visit Pint and Plow’s website here

New Mooney M20 Ultras Certified by FAA

Vivek Saxena, Chief Executive Officer of Mooney International Corporation, hosted a ceremony March 28 at the aircraft manufacturing facility to make Federal Aviation Agency certification of the two new Mooney Ultras official.

Saxena said this was only the 21st time in the history of Mooney that the FAA has certified a new design; and added that this is the first certification since the new ownership by the current investment group.

“Mooney is back and here is the proof!” he said, gesturing toward the red, silver and white plane on display in the sales hangar. “The industry has been waiting for this aircraft, not only Mooney.”

He noted the plane’s luxury interior and what he called the best avionics in the industry.

“The process wasn’t easy. I saw evidence of that even in my eight months here.”

He said Jim Grigg from the FAA was joined by two other Mooney executives and four representatives of the manufacturing inspection office in San Antonio to mark this occasion.

Saxena said he mentioned this because of the great teamwork they had during the whole design and certification process.

The approximately 150 employees gathered at the ceremony, too; and Saxena singled out some individual managers, engineers and other employees in experimental testing, quality control, production and manufacturing for thanks and appreciative applause.

He illustrated the reputation and sale-ability of Mooney planes with a story. He said his first day at the Kerrville facility, he took a customer from South America on a factory tour, a man who he knew already had made calls at other companies. Saxena said the man picked out a Mooney on the spot.

“The Mooney experience is the aircraft and the factory,” he said, complimenting the passion of the employees for their product.

Grigg signed the FFA certification papers at the podium; and said, “Folks, it’s official,” and shook Saxena’s hand.

Grigg also told the audience, “This is rare for us. The last one was about 10 years ago out of Fort Worth. Mooney is iconic; and we’re impressed. Congratulations!”

Certification process

Lance Phillips, director of marketing, said they worked closely with the FAA through the nearest aircraft certification offices in Fort Worth and the manufacturing inspection office in San Antonio.

Grigg represented the FAA and came to the sales hangar in Kerrville for the certification ceremony to officially sign the paperwork Mooney required to produce and sell the new 2017 Mooney Acclaim and Ovation Ultras.

Robert Dutton, vice president of production operations, said their aim is to use the right materials for the right applications; and in the Ovation and Acclaim they use the “composite” material for the cabin (fuselage) section.

That material is paired with a steel tube “safety cage” to create the cabin.

It also allowed for an added pilot’s door, both door openings 4 inches wider, with no increased weight and no decreased structural safety. All doors and windows have slightly lowered sills for better visibility.

If the pilot and passengers are tall and/or big, every inch counts, they said.

The official description of the Ultras calls the pilot’s door an “added door” as historically airplanes had one door on the co-pilot’s side of the plane.

“Performance has been maintained and safety and passenger comfort increased,” Dutton said.

They said the “dashboard” is wired with Garmin avionics and an input computer keyboard, with soft-touch switches that look more like a Lexus, what the company calls a sports-car-inspired interior.

It also includes – in addition to two larger flight screens for pilots – two smaller standby computer screens in the event all else goes black. Those are separately wired from the rest of the electronic equipment.

It also has USB outlets for pilots’ and passengers’ electronic devices such as iPhones and iPads.

“This is a Ferrari of the skies,” and owner pilots are sometimes called “Mooniacs,” Dutton said.

They said most design and parts on the M20 series Ovation and Acclaim are similar, but the Acclaim has a turbo-charged power plant that allows that plane to go higher and cruise faster than the Ovation model.

Both models have the signature canted tails so recognizable on Mooney planes.


The full-color brochure about the new M20 series planes says, “As irrefutable evidence that Mooney is back with a vengeance, we present the reimagined Mooney M20 series – our latest manifestation of Al Mooney’s original vision of aerodynamic purity.”

New owners get to pick the paint job, and these are the other Ovation specifications.

It seats four; and has retractable landing gear and Garmin G1000 avionics; a maximum operating altitude of 20,000 feet, and 197 “knots true air speed” with 900-1,080 nautical miles range depending on fuel.

Long-range cruising speed is 170 ktas with a range of 1,240-1,450 nm depending on fuel.

The wing-span is 36 feet 6 inches; length, 26 feet 8 inches; tail height, 8 feet 4 inches; and cabin width, 43.5 inches.

The Ovation’s list price is $689,000 plus any other available options.

Under “weight,” the brochure says the typical useful load is 1,130 pounds.

Dutton said “useful load” (for non-pilots) means the combined weight of the fuel, people, baggage and whoever else comes on a flight including dogs.

For the Acclaim model, it seats four; and has retractable landing gear and Garmin G1000 avionics.

It has a maximum operating altitude of 25,000 feet, maximum cruising speed of 242 ktas, range of 700-830 nm, and long-range of 1,100-1,275 nm.

This model has the same wingspan and other dimensions; and its typical useful load is 1,000 pounds.

The Acclaim’s list price is $769,000 plus other optional items.

Specifications and performance date are preliminary and subject to change.

Dutton said the entire interior of each airplane is fabricated at the Mooney plant.

For more information on the new planes, contact New Aircraft Sales at Mooney International Corp., 165 Al Mooney Rd. N., Kerrville; 1-800-456-3033; or email sales@

Phillips can be called at 792-2936.

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