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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas

All of us at MMS would like to wish you a very Merry Christmas as we take time away from the hangar to celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

May His richest blessings be upon you as we rejoice in the abundant and eternal life found only through faith in Christ and look toward to continuing to give Him the glory for it in 2009.

We'll return to the hangar and resume daily operations January 5th.

"For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord." Luke 2:11

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Pfeifer Aztec

It's been mighty chilly around here lately with wind-chill temps sinking into the negative figures for the past couple days. But regardless of the cold and ice outside, the hangar work continues on the inside.

Today's feature is on the Pfeifer's Aztec. The Pfeifer's are a Christian music group and they use the Aztec for transportation between concerts. We first came into contact with them early last year and have worked on the aircraft several times. This time Tim, Josh, and Scott L. are conducting an annual inspection on the airplane. Tim got the ball rolling and the inspection was moving right along until a discrepancy was discovered requiring substantial disassembly of both engines. Josh took on the right engine. Scott took on the left engine.

Josh cleans and organizes parts prior to reassembly.

Scott cleans and organizes parts prior to reassembly.

Scott, Josh, and the Aztec.

With Josh and Scott's skills and abilities, the Aztec will soon be back on the Pfiefer flight line carrying the Gospel forward through musical outreach.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Bob, Chuck, Dennis, and Tim

Bob splits his time between being a mechanic on the hangar floor and serving as our Training Manager on the administrative side. Recently he's been assisting Tim with the annual inspection on the Aztec.

Bob installs an instrument in the Aztec control panel.

Chuck, one of our Production Mechanics, has spent considerable time on the 182 project so far. He's moved from working inside the fuselage to preparing the 182 seats for installation.

Chuck installs a second seat stop.

Dennis, our Chief Inspector, is gifted in many ways and can often be found making tooling instead of buying it. His skills have saved MMS thousands of dollars over the past years.

Dennis machining some new tooling.

Tim, our Production Manager, is overseeing the Aztec annual inspection. The aircraft is off the jacks and back on its own landing gear. The inspection should be wrapped up by the end of the week.

Tim greases the right propeller hub.

Thanks for your prayers which enable us to serve mission aviation through the preparation of people and planes.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Speeding The Gospel on Friday Afternoon

As snow falls on this cold, pre-winter Friday afternoon, the whine of high-speed drills, the percussion of rivet guns, and the delicate clickety-clack of ratchet wrenches, combine to create a mechanical symphony that drifts through our hangar on the waves of the overhead heaters.

Working in sweatshirts and ski-caps in the heated but nowhere near hot hangar, our missionaries push their projects ahead one step at a time. Christmas is coming, but there are few holiday distractions on the shop floor. Christmas is the reason for our work. The reality of Christ and His Good News needs to be shared. There are many in remote places who have yet to hear.

Airplanes speed the Gospel to the unreached and shorten the time it takes to tell everyone The Story.

How many more Christmases will there be before Christ comes back? Only God knows. But if we puposefully do our job here, allowing others to faithfully do their job out there, we may shorten the time before we begin the true Celebration in Heaven.

Gertjan prepares to replace the bearings in the trim tab actuator for Moody's 182.

Ian fits a new front faring on the 182's vertical stabilizer.

Josh fits the exhaust on the right engine on the Pfeiffer Aztec.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Paint Is Coming Off The 182

The 182 project is still moving ahead in several directions at once. In the mix of things, the paint removal process started on the tail cone. The paint remover (yellow in color) is painted on and then left alone to do its work. Over the course of several hours, the remover basically lifts the paint from the aluminum. Some paint removes easier than others and a second and third application may be necessary on small, difficult paint spots. In some cases the paint literally drips off the airplane.

Paint remover on the tail cone.

Paint lifting and peeling from the aluminum.

Chuck cleans up after the first application.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Work Stops, Work Continues, and Work Starts

Work Stops
With the completion of the floor panel installation, work has drawn to a close on the Honduran 206 until such time as their mission can provide additional funds allowing the project to continue.

Josh and Scott with the tool array necessary to complete the installation.

Work Continues
Gertjan and Ian continue to move ahead with painting the control surfaces and airframe components of the Moody 182.

Prepping for a second coat of white paint

Work Begins
Along with our long-term restoration projects, routine maintenance jobs are also scheduled like the annual inspection on the Pfeiffer Evangelical Association's Piper Aztec.

Tim begins the inspection on the Aztec.

The list of projects for 2009 is greater than the manpower we currently have in the hangar. We'd appreciate your prayers for the Lord to grow our staff and provide more apprentices allowing us to better accomplish the work He's directing our way.

Monday, December 8, 2008

An Inside Job on the Moody 182

Mike's currently the "inside man" on the 182 project.

In order to drive rivets into a repair, it was necessary for Mike
to take up residence inside the 182's tail cone.

While being a contortionist isn't a requirement to be a missionary airplane mechanic, it can help in certain applications!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Three Down and Locked

A milestone was reached today as the Moody Aviation 182 was taken off the fuselage jig and wood blocks and now rests on its own landing gear. A tail stand is still necessary as, without the engine installed, the center of gravity is currently behind the main landing gear.

The 182 on its own gear.

Progress continues on other aspects of the project as well. Gertjan is fabricating an aileron, Chuck's still working in the panel area, and Ian and David are in the paint booth shooting primer on control surfaces and other airframe components

David shoots primer on the rudder.

It's exciting to see this airplane coming together. Thanks for being part of it through your prayers and gifts!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Etch and Alodine in Hangar A, Control Columns in Hangar B

Part of the preparation of bare aluminum for painting is the "etch and Alodine" process. Etching cleans the aluminum of surface contaminants. Alodine helps protect aluminum from corrosion and also increases the ability of paint to adhere to the metal surface. Once the etch and Alodine process is completed the components, in this case the wings from the Moody 182, will be ready to shoot with primer.

Ian and Terry completed the etch yesterday.

Terry applies the Alodine which typically remains
on the aluminum for three to five minutes.

Ian rinses the Alodine from the wings.

In Hangar B, Chuck installs the control columns in the 182.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Restoration Takes Time

Rivet by rivet, skin by skin, bolt by bolt, piece by piece...the full restoration of an aircraft takes time. Regardless of whether the cause of the restoration is hard use in a difficult environment, neglect, accident, or maybe a combination of all three, the result is the same--you know there's ultimately going to be a large investment of time, energy, and money. Less money if we do the restoration because of our unique ministry, but there's still a substantial cost.

Whether it's the Honduran 206 or on the Moody 182, it takes a great deal of dedication to work at this depth of maintenance for such a long duration.

Josh drives and Scott bucks the last few rivets to finish the floor panel installation in the Honduran 206.

Terry (sitting), one of our volunteers, assists Ian in "etching" the 182 wings before they're treated with Alodyne, a surface protectant.

David and Gertjan detail the 182's vertical stabilizer while in the paint booth.

An analogy could be made to restoring people as well. Regardless of the cause of the damage, there's going to be a large investment in time, energy, and resources along with a high level of dedication in order for physical, emotional, and spiritual restoration to occur.

MMS is in the ministry of preparing the people who maintain and restore the airplanes that make the Gospel of Jesus Christ accessible and spiritual restoration possible for those in remote locations around the world. Thank you for being part of this strategic ministry through your prayers and your gifts.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Landing Gear

As our team of mechanics continue their work on the Cessna 182 for Moody Aviation, Scott's assignment within that team is to overhaul the landing gear system. This 182 is an "R" version which means it has retractable landing gear. Retractable landing gear is a bit more complex than a "fixed gear" aircraft. Scott's been diligently working away cleaning, inspecting, repairing, painting, installing, rigging, and now is getting to the point where various components are literally coming together. It won't be long before the fuselage will rest on its own tires instead of the jig and support sling.

Scott familiarizes himself with the emergency hand pump assembly. The hand pump is used to manually lower the landing gear should the automatic system ever fail.

Beginning disassembly of the emergency hand pump.

Scott overhauling the emergency hand pump.

The nose and main gear struts are in place.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Gertjan Gets Into His Work

MMS enjoyed a restful Thanksgiving weekend. We hope you did too. Now the guys are back working on the Moody 182 in Hangar B.

Gertjan is one of the four men going through our program right now and is one of the two assigned to fabricate the flaps for the airplane.

Here are two shots of Gertan getting into his work.