Mooney M20R Ovation Review MSFS 2020 by Carenado

Review on the latest aircraft from Carenado, the mighty Mooney.


Beware that most airplanes out in the real world are from “that era”, the average age of active piston singles in the US fleet is about 40 years old. That’s the average, some are much older.
I look forward to when glass panel is standard, but in the meantime this is one looks really good.

Thanks for the review, you covered everything I wanted to know and it was produced in a professional interesting way, nice job!

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Wrong history regarding the Mooney aircraft. Prior 4-cylinder models like the M20J were pretty fast (although not as fast as the M20R) and much more fuel efficient than the M20R. Have you flown any IFR approaches with this Mooney? The GNS530 with the AP are almost useless. As it is now, this Mooney is eye candy but useless to anyone wanting to practice IFR approaches with it except ILS approaches flown by hand. The problem is that Carenado is using the default GNS530 which is half-baked.

Not sure how the instruments in the Mooney prevent you from flying an IFR approach. An IFR approach just means that you would be following a predetermined set of rules. IFR does not mean automatic.

Why is the 530 useless? Its not a G1000. Its strictly a GPS. A 520 is not going to have any glide path or slope capabilities in this aircraft. Its just their for Random (Area) Navigation RNAV without vertical guidance.

“ILS flown by hand”… yes… like they were when this aircraft was sold and how most of us learned how to do it. I would just call it flying.


IMO you can’t really compare a 4 cylinder to a 6. When the 6’s were introduced they were race cars of their time, but pigs on gas. the 20R changed that. the 4 bangers were almost 2 decades older.

Try setting mid-flight direct to an airfield and then selecting RNAV approach and actually flying it. The GNS530 is much more than just GPS. If you ever flown the Carenado M20R in XP11 you will realize the vast difference in their respective GNS530 functionalities. By the way, I have a GNS530 in my real M20J Mooney that I fly.


I’m going to be flying an older Ovation1 here in a few weeks for an indoc for a new owner, other than Aspens replacing the attitude/heading it looks a lot like this one so I’m kind of excited. All my mooney time is in the g1000 ovation2 and its kinda cheating (except for about 30 hours in an old short body M20 with a johnson bar 20 years ago - ouch my wrist! lol - also 8gph for high 140s :heart: ). I am curious about flying this one manually and it definitely seems better tuned than say the stock G36 - go have a look in that thread, lol. I think I’ll pick it up and throw on the autopilot and see how it handles some approaches, then try to beat the ■■■■ out of her. I was pretty deadset against getting another carenado plane from experience maybe 10 years ago, but I really like the Mooney and I know it well. I’ll know if its pretty good if I have trouble slowing her down without speedbrakes, I have the same trouble in the real thing!

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Is the beacon on the tail missing? I was checking out all the lights but I couldn’t see that one as I went through them individually. This is my favorite aircraft so far. It has the avionics I would want in an aircraft (one that I could afford any way).

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Yep. Works. And what the problem in fly by hand ils app? Are you kidding?

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There isn’t a Beacon on the tail it’s underneath the aircraft on the tail boom as such.

Exactly Matarazzo. Its the only way I knew how for years. I realize they are becoming more obtainable, but count how many average private pilots have fancy glass or AP equipment in their 60’s era mooneys and Cessna’s

But even with glasses cockipts they learn it hand flying, and with letters. There isnt nothing wrong with gns 530, just dont have vnav page. so you can do ils app by ap just config him to alt arm v/s with letters info, cross checking fd but i suspect this guy doesnt know nothing. :tipping_hand_man:

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Thanks for the review - I purchased this aircraft as I too like the steam gauges over the glass cockpits.

Question: I cannot for the life of me find the switch to activate the airbrakes (speedbrakes). What am I missing?

I paste the answer of the user [SuperSasquatch]

The speed brake is on the left handle of the yoke, hidden behind to the left. You can only see a tiny bit of it from default view so use the arrow key left to peek around, and the CTRL-space to center view back. Its annoying yes but i think there is a hotkey for something else that it uses.

The speed brake can be operated with the “spoiler” hotkeys.


That is awesome! I actually have a speed brake switch on my HOTAS.

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I had my first flight in the Mooney and I definitely noticed that it did NOT want to slow down.

I now understand why the speed brake activation button is where it is on the yoke in the real plane. I just remapped my controls to match that location.

I’ve read your posts on the G36 mod thread and You really seem to know your stuff. If you do get the Mooney please let us know what you think. So far I really like it.

I challenge myself with it if I am totally vfr to try to plan the energy management so as to not use the speed brake on arrival, sometimes I succeed. Thanks for the kind words btw! I did pick it up actually and I really like it. I think I posted what I thought the pros and cons were, not really a review though, too busy testing other planes and fighting an fseconomy addiction:

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I agree. I’ve done many ILS approaches in the Mooney and other aircraft IRL. Except for the A320 and the Dash 8, all of them were flown by hand. I regularly hand fly my A320 on the ILS, no AP, no A/Thrust.

More than half of the Garmin equipped aircraft I’ve flown couldn’t link an approach to the GPS! :rofl:
AP was heading hold, wing leveler, and if you were lucky, ALT hold!


To decelerate on descent is more tricky, as you’re going with gravity, like rolling your car down a hill. Slow down whilst you’re flying level and get some drag out before descent. :+1: