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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Spring break 2015

The LeTourneau Crew

For the past couple of years a small group of college students have traveled 18 hours from LeTourneau University in Longview, TX. to spend their spring break volunteering at MMS. The purpose of their trip is to provide an opportunity to explore mission aviation on a personal level, a professional level and a spiritual level.  This Face-to-Face profile highlights this group of students and their advisor.

This is a photo of the four students and their staff advisor that came to MMS this year.

Sitting on the left side of the couch is Pablo Silverio, staff advisor. LeTourneau requires a staff member accompany students on trips such as this and as of two weeks ago no staff had committed.  When Pablo stepped forward the students were grateful because without him the trip would not have happened.

On the personal side, Pablo is a programmer and he and his wife moved from Ecuador last July. He works in the IT department at LeTourneau and has been able to assist MMS with some of their computer issues.

On the right of the couch is Rebekah Martel. She is in her freshman year at LeTourneau. However, Rebekah is not your typical first year college student. She graduated from high School in 2011 and worked in a hardware store the past couple of years putting away money for school.  During that time she felt the Lord working on her heart and calling her to missions. When she was 12 she took her first airplane ride while attending a Young Eagles Day coordinated by the EAA. It was then she fell in love with planes. She says that the Lord is combining all her passions by calling her to mission aviation; flying, fixing things and mission work.

Standing directly behind Rebekah is Caleb Gibson. When asked the question concerning his call into missions he is quick to tell you he has felt called since the age of 6. It was then he developed a love for planes. During his freshmen year in high school he heard a missionary speak and he knew then mission aviation was for him. This is Caleb’s senior year at LeTourneau and he will be graduating in May. He is very open about his school loans and hopes to get a job to pay them off quickly. This will allow him to get to the mission field that he feels such a passion for and calling to.

To the left of Caleb is Jack Harper. Unlike Caleb, Jack is not able to be so specific about the date and time he felt called into mission aviation. Growing up his family went on short term mission trips which created a desire for mission work. However, it wasn’t until recently an interest in mission aviation developed. His father is a pilot and when flying with him during his high school years (just last year, Jack is a freshman) he came to realize how much he enjoyed it.

Standing next to Jack is Trey Kleppe. Trey wants to work with helicopters more then anything. His first ride in one occurred in high school when his church was conducting a community outreach dropping Easter eggs out of a helicopter. Ever since that flight helicopters have excited him. His dream is to fly helicopters for a mission organization when he graduates from LeTourneau.  

Collectively they readily admitted how beneficial they have found their time at MMS. The opportunity to work with licensed mechanics on planes that are going to serve all over the world is enriching their lives. They feel encouraged, more knowledgeable, and better able to picture what mission aviation maintenance looks like on a day to day basis. Learning from people who have served in different parts of the world has also broadened their scope of what it means to work in mission aviation. In addition, to be able to network among people who have the same passion as theirs seems to feed into their souls. 

It was a pleasure to meet Pablo and each of these students.  I pray for their future and hope that the rest of the MMS family joins me.  I am grateful God continues to call people to serve Him in mission aviation. “Then He said to His disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.’” Mathew 9:37

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Off to Africa

The SIM  SMA diesel 182Q is completed and is on it's way back to service in Niger, Africa. This is a 4 cylinder SMA designed diesel engine. The diesels cost $250/Hr. less than the av-gas engines and based on an 800 Hr. year of flight time it saves this program $200,000/yr. When traveling at normal high speed power this aircraft has a flight distance of 9 hours on a tank of fuel and when throttled back for optimum distance can reach 14 hours with the right conditions. This is a very valuable capability as they do many long flights over desert terrain. They can safely fly this plane to it's destination in Africa from the US. This is leading edge technology and will be the future of mission aviation. The cost of fuel for Jet-A is between $6-$8/ gallon as compared to Av Gas which runs around $22/ gallon.

We at MMS are always excited to see such technology and get to be a part of working on such an airplane. Although we had no part in working on the engine there was plenty of things that we had our hands on in working on this aircraft. We added wing extensions, doorpost/ wing strut modifications, HF radio installation, storm scope installation, ELT replacement, an inter cooler addition to the engine, new shoulder harnesses, a max gross weight increase, new floor matting, an upgraded starter system, and a new magnetic compass system. The betterment of this aircraft will give it years of service on the mission field.

The efficiency of this airplane allows SIM to have the ability to make individual runs if needed for anything  from ambulance to supplies when needed. To learn more about what SIM does you can visit their site at

All washed up and ready to go

We gathered the crew and gave it a proper send off bathed in prayer and it is now on it's way

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

A special treat

Mercy Air has completed it's helicopter, and to say thank you to MMS for the use of it's facility they were giving families a ride. It was exciting sitting in the front seat with anticipation as you heard the slow whine start to pick up momentum and the long blades started to swirl around. Inside the cockpit you could feel the wump, wump, wump of the rotor blades swirling. Looking through the windshield you could see the swirls of snow curling across the ground. After all checks of the helicopter we were cleared for take off. The slow upward lift as it pulled us skyward felt like we were floating on a cloud and the nose pointed forward and tilted down slightly and we were off.

Getting a view of Coshocton from 1,000 ft. above was breath taking. We worked our way south looking at our houses and worked our way back north to around Newbedford along the Amish coun- try and then back to the hangar. As we made our approach there were families eagerly anticipating their ride with smiles on their faces and children dancing about wondering when it was their turn.

As we hovered over the taxi-way and gently touched down in front of hangar A it was time for us to give up our seats and let the next family have their turn. AS we touched down we were greeted by Mike the mechanic as he had his warm Swiss smile and opened the door to help us out. These are rare but wonderful opportunities when we get to actually fly in one of the projects from our hangar.
A view from above the hangar

Coshocton from 1,000ft. above

A couple of happy passengers enjoying the flight

A view of the approaching hangar

Mike as he is helping the passengers into the helocopter


The Mercy Air crew Mike, David, and Matthias

Here is the Helicopter today getting ready for shipping to South Africa

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Mercy Air does it's first test run on N220CF

 After months of reconfiguration the Mercy Air helicopter had it's first test run. This helicopter has been reconfigured from an air ambulance to a utility helicopter. There are countless hours of taking apart each section of the helicopter and preparing it for it's new home in South Africa.

MMS Aviation does not do helicopters but we are allowing Mercy Air to utilize space in our back hangar to work on their project. It has been a wonderful experience to work along side these fellow workers.

Mercy Air does disaster relief work in the South African region where they have had some recent flooding. The helicopter that is being reconfigured is needed there very soon to start running flights. They have a second helicopter which has been utilized and has now run out of running cycles and the helicopter needs to be overhauled so the timing of this one being completed and returned to service is very critical. I have attached some pictures of the helicopter and the recent flooding in Mozambique which is one of the areas where Mercy Air operates.

The helicopter when it arrived in August 2014

The helicopter after major reconfiguration in February 2015
The other helicopter picking up much needed supplies to deliver

Loading these much needed supplies from the truck
Delivering the much needed supplies to the villages

Notice that the flooding is making it near impossible for villagers to cross the rivers

The villagers awaiting the much needed supplies from Mercy Air

Monday, January 26, 2015

Marty gets prayer

Early last week we had "Marty" the Angel serial #002 fly back to the hangar for it's final paper work sign off with the FAA. The Angel needed to obtain it's export certificate of air worthiness. After the  FAA inspectors for our region made their plans to make their visit and inspect the Angel (Marty), everything was looked at from the physical plane to the mountain of accumulated necessary paper work. After two days of inspecting the certificate was obtained and "Marty" was ready for the open skies once again and  one step closer to it's home in Bolivia where SAMair will put "Marty" to work.

One of the privileges that we have is to surround the pilot and the plane and send it off with prayer. We are blessed to get to do this on a regular basis. Greg and "Marty" were lifted up and sent on their way. I have attached some pictures of the occasion below.

Praying for Greg , SAMair and for the work they will be doing

Need I say more

Greg makes his final inspection before flight
One final fly by as Greg and "Marty" fade into the sky

Friday, January 16, 2015

The MAF Suriname 206 gets its wings

The new year is starting at a fast pace here at MMS. We have finished inventory, review of our SOP manual cleaned the hangar and jumped right in to the many projects in the hangar. One of the first priorities was to get the wings installed on the Suriname 206. This is an effort of large proportions to properly install the wings. It takes a lot of man power to work them into position and then connect them to the fuselage.

The Suriname 206 came from Indonesia where it served many years and needed to be rebuilt. This is the largest rebuild we have done here at MMS. This plane was completely taken apart and is now in the reassembly stages. Connecting the wings back on is a major step in the project to get it to completion. I have attached a video time lapse of the project so you can see the effort it takes.



Tuesday, January 6, 2015

a new year and a new beginning

As we begin each new year we think of it as a new beginning a starting over a golfers mulligan so to speak. Here at MMS we see each new year as a fresh start to a new beginning and a chance to serve in ways we may have not served before. Our new beginning is also a new beginning for new staff and apprentices as well. In December we had Jenny Haver start at the hangar and in just a few short weeks we have two new faces starting out in the hangar as well. David Blanton who is receiving some advanced training to go with his A&P will be here for the next two years and we have a new staff member who has joined us from World Gospel Mission and is on loan to us, Mike Garrett is a former apprentice graduate and is now serving as staff in our hangar. With each new face comes new talents and abilities.

As we begin each year here at MMS we have the new beginning with an important task known as inventory. Every rivet every screw every piece of sheet metal must be accounted for. This daunting task takes the help of every one out on the floor. This year may have been the most efficient we have been at completing this task. Way to go every one great job. I have attached some pictures of the occasion below.