The Mooney Mite is a direct descendant of the Culver PQ-14 Target Drone. When the Mooney brothers resurrected the Mooney Aircraft Corp. in 1946 their first offering was the Mooney Series 18, an all-wood single seater with retractable tricycle gear and a cantilevered, laminar flow wing. Priced at less than $2000, the 'backward-tailed' "Mite" was a big hit in the sport aviation world.
The first Mites were produced with the 25 hp liquid- cooled Crosley Cobra automobile engine. Due to numerous technical problems they were soon recalled and replaced with 65 hp Lycoming engines. This proved to be an excellent power plant solution capable of four gallons per hour economy at over 120mph cruising speeds. The miniature "fighter plane" was cheap to buy and appealed to ex-military pilots.
More than 280 Mites were built between 1948 and 1955, at which time Mooney began production of the M20 series.