John Monnett designed the Moni (mo-nee) during the early 1980s and then
coined the term 'air recreation vehicle' to describe this airplane.
Monnett's design almost captured all the merits that so many leisure
pilots longed to find in one aircraft. The Moni looked great just
sitting on the ramp. It performed well and someone reasonably handy with
average shop tools could construct one in their own garage. The design
had much going for it but like so many homebuilt aircraft before and
since, a few key engineering lapses in the design, plus problems with
the engine and propeller, relegated the Moni to the category of
homebuilt aircraft that promise much in design but fail to deliver.
first flew the Moni during July 1981. He sold about 380 kits from 1982
until his company ceased operations in 1986. A homebuilder unpacking his
mail-order Moni kit found all components pre-shaped from aircraft-grade
aluminium except for the expansive Plexiglas canopy. Only an electric
drill, sheet metal shears, and a pop-rivet gun were required to
construct most of the aircraft. The wing skins required some expertise
to bond them to the wing structure but Monnett claimed overall
construction time ran about 350-400 hours.
finished Moni was a mildly aerobatic motoglider, surely one of the most
fun and economical types of airplanes. A Moni pilot could zip along at
193 kph (120 mph) or stop her engine and glide around in search of
thermal updrafts at a respectable 20:1 glide ratio. Airframe weight
totalled about 118 kg (260 lb), a mere 1.8 kg (4 lb) over the legal
weight limit for ultralights but the Moni was at least two times faster.
All this superb performance depended on a small and economical power
plant, the KFM 107 two-stroke, air-cooled engine that Monnett included
with all the kits he sold. Performance also depended on a sound airframe
but glue held the wings together in the early kits. After several wings
failed in flight, Monnett redesigned the wings for riveted construction
but the Moni's reputation suffered.
builders completed their Monis with all design modifications and safety
upgrades. They found the little aircraft was almost as fun and
economical as John Monnett had claimed. One pilot said this about his
Moni: "I think that the Moni is a joy to fly. I have flown throughout
Oklahoma, into Texas and Kansas. I took one cross-country that was 700
statute miles round trip. The Moni does what it was designed to do very
well. It is a good day VFR recreational aircraft."
||27 ft. 6
||3 ft. 3 in.
||75 sq. ft.
||44 sq. ft.
||500 ft. per