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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

A Build-up And A Take-Off

As Tuesday rolls through the MMS hangar, Josh has started the engine build-up for CMML in Zambia, Africa and GCI's Cessna 310 returned to service.

Josh installs the first of six cylinders on the Continental TSIO-520 engine.

Gospel Carrier International's Cessna 310 returns to ministry this morning.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Accepted for Service: Richard & Ashley Whittemore

Last week we conducted an in-hangar candidate evaluation of Richard & Ashley Whittemore. We're pleased to announce that Richard & Ashley successfully completed the evaluation process and have been accepted for service with MMS Aviation.

The Whittemores are already missionaries with SCORE International and will begin service with MMS as soon as their financial support team is completed.

If you'd like to follow Richard and Ashley on their path to cross-cultural ministry, feel free to check-out their blog: The Journey To The Field.

The Whittemores

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Major Progress on the Honduran 206!

Today was quite exciting as the Honduran 206 grew wings. After 2 years of restoration, the guys hung the freshly painted wings on the freshly painted fuselage. The horizontal stabilizer is being fitted to the airframe as we speak. This project has been challenging on multiple levels and God continues to be glorified in it, yet it sure is nice to see the plane finally coming together with an end date on the horizon.

Prepared to hang the wings

lifting the right wing

positioning the right wing and installing wing root bolts

securing the strut to the right wing

lifting the left wing

positioning the left wing and installing wingroot bolts

securing the strut to the left wing

wings attached.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Final Paint on the Honduran 206

Yesterday's blog was about finish the fuselage paint and today's is about finishing the registration numbers on the wings. Ian and Scott L. began prepping the wings to shoot the registration numbers immediately after the moved the fuselage back into Hangar B.

First, a stencil needed to be secured to the top of the right wing and the underside of the left wing.

Ian and Scott L. position the stencil on the top of the right wing.

Once the stencil was positioned, the protective sheet was removed.

Then the wings were moved into the paint booth, wrapped to protect the areas not needing paint, and the surface to be painted was scuffed for better paint adherence. At that point the stenciled area was shot with red paint.

Here's the finished numbers on the bottom of the left wing.

There's a very good possibility that the wings will soon be installed on the fuselage. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

From Paint Booth Back to Hangar B

The fuselage of the Honduran 206 was moved from the paint booth back into its spot inside Hangar B this morning. With the fuselage painted, Ian and Scott will prepare to shoot the airplane's registration numbers on the wings.

Scott and Ian begin unwrapping the 206

Logan Harding continues the process

Scott and Ian move the fuselage into Hangar B

and reposition it next to the Moody 182.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Labor Intensive

Mission aviation maintenance is a labor intensive endeavor. And because aviation maintenance labor fee in a commercial shop runs right around $60 per hour, many airplanes that have sustained substantial damage are written off as scrap by insurance companies because it's often cheaper for them to replace an airplane than it might be to finance its repair.

That's where MMS Aviation comes in. Because everyone at MMS is a faith-supported missionary, we donate our time spent repairing missionary airplanes and do all the in-house work without charging any labor. All the missions pay for is the parts and materials we have to buy to facilitate the repair. This provides substantial savings to the mission agencies we serve.

If you're a regular blog follower, you know we have three long-term, missionary aircraft restoration projects underway: the Moody 182, the Honduran 206, and the Brazilian 206.

The Moody 182
While the engine and airframe repairs are completed, the instrument panel still needs a bit of work. Shortly after Mike completes the avionics upgrade and installation, this airplane will be ready to return to service.

The Moody 182 instrument panel

The Honduran 206
Ian shot the final color coat on the fuselage today. The next step is to paint the registration numbers on the wings.
Ian shoots blue paint after finishing with the white and red.

Ian pulls tape after the blue paint has set.

The Brazilian 206
The primary focus of the Brazilian 206 restoration right now is the modification to its horizontal stabilizer. Andy and Tim are spending the vast majority of their time focused on fabricating the necessary pieces, making repairs, and pre-fitting all the components in order to make sure it's all going to fit together when they finally start putting it all together.

Tim drills holes for the nut plates and Andy makes a repair.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

No Tornadoes In Sight

Yesterday evening's "tornado watch" came and went without seeing any tornadoes in Coshocton County. I'm reminded that in California people pay to go whale watching and quite often see whales. In Ohio it's fine by us if we have a tornado watch and don't see any tornadoes, ever. The price paid to see whales in California is far less that what's paid when we see tornadoes in Ohio.

Tornadoes and whales aside, paint is hitting the side of the Honduran 206 fuselage.

Scott shoots the second coat of red.

Josh has begun the CMML engine build-up.

The crankshaft and connecting rods.

Andy and Tim continue drilling and driving their way through the Bazilian horizontal stabilizer modification project.

Andy bucks while Tim drives some #8 rivets.

But not all maintenance around here has to do with airplanes. Dave, our facilities manager has his hands full all day most every day taking care of the grounds as well as every aspect of our 18,000 square foot facility.

Dave makes repairs to our water system control station.

If you ever want to come on a missionary airplane watch, feel free to stop in. We'll get you a chair so you can sit, relax, and enjoy the sights and sounds of mission aviation maintenance. You can get closer to the airplanes than you can get to the whales, though there is a little less heart-pounding excitement than if an F5 tornado touched down in your neighborhood.

Thanks for your gifts and your prayers.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


It's midway through the week and the National Weather Service has placed a "Tornado Watch" on Coshocton County through 10PM tonight. Right now that's hard to understand as the weather is quite nice after rain showers overnight and through the early morning. The sun is out, the sky is blue, there are a few clouds but no visible threat at this time. There is a breeze but no strong winds. We'll have to wait and see how the rest of the evening plays out.

Moody Aviation 182
Mike's work on the 182 continues to look the same, day after day, as he wraps and runs wire into, underneath, and through the airplane's control panel. The progress is slow but steady.

GCI 310
Paul worked to install a new alternator on the 310's right engine.

CMML Engine
Josh continued organizing parts prior to engine build-up.

Honduran 206
After painting the Honduran 206 white, Ian and Scott L. continued to prep the aircraft fuselage for the color coats. They plan to shoot the red stripe tomorrow. After that they'll shoot a blue stripe. The registration number stencils are in place, the lines are taped, and they're in the process of using a special plastic wrap to cover everything on the fuselage that isn't supposed to be red.

Scott and Ian wrap specific areas of the fuselage in protective plastic.

Brazilian 206
Andy and Tim F.'s work on the Brazilian 206's horizontal stabilizer has moved to the point of lining up holes and making final adjustments to the fit of the leading edge.

Andy drills into the stabilizer.

Lamp 337
As Scott G. organizes parts and conducts research into airworthiness directives and service bulletins related the project, Chuck focused on repairing the nose gear door system.

Chuck inspects the mechanism that closes the retractable nose gear doors.

Lord willing we won't have any tornadoes to watch for tonight.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Tuesday Breeze

The temperature is resting at 80 degrees. The sun is warm, the sky is blue. High clouds diffuse the sunlight a bit as airplanes take off and land. A breeze flows through the open door, up the back stairwell, through the receipting room, into the administrative bay and back down the front stairwell into the parking lot. The humidity is "low" for Ohio (41%) --and the breeze feels good.

The breeze cools the hangars as well as work continues on several projects.

Inside Hangar A's engine shop, Josh sorts parts in preparation for the build-up of the engine for CMML in Zambia, Africa.

Some of the internal parts of the engine.

In Hangar B, Tim and Andy continue their work modifying the horizontal stabilizer for the Brazilian 206.

Tim drill holes in the new skin.

In Hangar C, repairs are being made to GCI's Cessna 310.

Mike and Paul discuss repairs to the 310's alternator for the right engine.

And back in the paint booth in the back of Hangar C, the fuselage for the Honduran 206 is prepped for color coats.

Scott and Ian position the identification number stencils to match the original paint scheme.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Preparing People (and Planes)

Our ministry at MMS is two-fold: 1) to prepare people to serve as missionary airplane mechanics while we; 2) maintain, modify, and repair missionary airplanes.

This past week was the culmination of the "preparing people" part for two of our apprentices, David Mozombite and Gertjan Kamphorst.

Both David and Gertjan completed their requirements to take the FAA written exams and passed them in May. Just last week David and Gertjan also passed their oral and practical exams allowing them to receive their FAA A&P mechanic's certificates.

This is an exciting and somewhat stressful time for the apprentice families as they complete service with MMS, take and pass the exams, and begin their transition to service with an aviation ministry beyond our hangar doors.

David Mozombite
David and Amy are transitioning from MMS into service with South America Mission. They've been assigned to SAM's flight program in Bolivia where David will serve as a maintenance specialist. David (pronounced da-Veed) is originally from Peru. They have three children: Isaiah, Lilly, and Asher.

Gertjan Kamphorst
Gertjan and Glenda previously served in Papua New Guinea with MAF-Australia. They came to MMS so Gertjan, a pilot, could also become a mechanic. This has opened the door for them to serve with MAF-US. They'll soon be moving to Nampa, Idaho to complete their orientation and standarization for service with MAF. They have two children, Johan & Marielle. Gertjan is originally from the Netherlands and Glenda is from the Philippines.

As it's exciting and somewhat stressful for the families who are leaving, it's exciting and sad for those of us on staff remaining behind. It's exciting because the goal of investing our lives in each of these families is so they will move on to effective mission service with other organizations. This is exactly what the Kamphorsts and Mozombites are doing. And yet, after living and working so closely with each of these families for so long, it's sad to say goodbye to our good friends.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Friday at MMS

It was foggy this morning, cool but not wet. A guy could ride his bicycle to the shop and not have his glasses fog up with water droplets. Dry fog?

After morning prayer some of us moved upstairs to begin the administrative day, others moved into the hangar to continue their labors with tools and machines and metal and wires and hoses and cables and gears. Dave mowed the grounds allowing the smell of fresh cut grass, still a bit damp from yesterday's rains, to drift through our hangars.

On Wednesday two volunteers went home. Today two more volunteers showed up. Rachel and Jordan flew in around 10 AM and proceeded to dive right into the 337 project. Rachel was part of the LeTourneau crew that served with us earlier in the year. Jordan is in the Air Force, had some leave, and decided to spend a day of it working in our hangar at Rachel's invitation. Jordan said it was quite different working on missionary airplanes in contrast to the B-52's he normally maintains. The concept of delivering Bibles instead of dropping bombs appeals to him.

Jordan and Rachel worked hard all day and then flew home only a few minutes ago. It was an encouragement to have them in the hangar.

Jordan and Rachel

Jordan and Rachel working on the LAMP 337.

On the "official" front, progress was made on the CMML overhaul as Josh and Mike compared measurements of the main bearings.

Josh and Mike in the engine shop comparing measurements.

The sun is out. I can hear airplanes taking off from the runway just west of our hangar. Not a lot of airplanes. Just one every now and then. Coshocton County isn't a busy place. Neither is the airport compared to others but it is a beautiful and well maintained airport with the identifier I-40.

Now that summer has started, Lindbergh Grill is open again over at the airport terminal. It might not be a bad idea to consider flying in or driving over for a burger or a grilled chicken sandwich on the weekend. Hand dipped ice cream, too. Sit at one of the tables outside, shaded from the warm sun by an umbrella, and enjoy the scenery and the pilots' radio chatter as it crackles from the exterior speakers. Watch airplanes take off and land. Can it get any better than that?

Years ago, Coshocton's motto was "A friendly place with a slower pace." While the motto has since changed as those things seem to do, the truth of that motto has not.

Have a great weekend.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Rainy Day

Josh is measuring engine parts for the CMML engine overhaul, Mike is weaving electrical wire for the Moody 182, Chuck is cleaning a fuel pump, Tim is writing an airplane maintenance log book entry which will allow GCI's 172 to return to service, Dennis just installed a new battery in a local airplane, Dwight and Dave just finished leading a group of children on a tour through MMS, and Andy and Tim F. are still working with the Brazilian 206's horizontal stabilizer.

There's activity in the hangar but it's quiet activity. No rhythmic pounding of rivet guns, no high-pitched whine of an air drill, no teeth-jarring screech from a cut-off wheel on aluminum to compete with the soothing drip of the rain from the hangar doors and building edges. The grass is green outside. The trees lush with leaves. Nearby, groundhogs peer from the tree line's perimeter and squirrels dash from branch to branch as trapeze artists of the furry sort.

Thundershowers rolled through this morning turning into a warm summer drizzle this afternoon. It's a good soaking rain that we've needed here in Coshocton. Corn's in the ground and up about six inches. The soybean plants have broken through the soil and stand a little shorter than the corn. The hangar doors are open to take advantage of the gentle 76 degree breeze. A radio station plays through a computer on a tool box near one of the airplanes. And it's easy to want to sleep.

But no one's sleeping. There's work to be done.

GCI's 172 sits in the rain waiting for its maintenance log book entry to be completed.

Looking to Hangar C from Hangar B. GCI's 310 is on the left.
The Brazilian 206's horizontal stabilizer is on the right.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Midweek Midwork

Brazilian 206 Restoration
Andy and Tim F. continue their efforts on the horizontal stabilizer modification.

GCI Cessna 172
Williams brought his 172 in for the guys to troubleshoot an engine squawk.

Paperwork, Paperwork, Paperwork
Chief Inspector Dennis Satterthwaite updates procedure and policy manuals.

LAMP Cessna 337
Volunteers Tim S. and Kevin wrap up their work on the 337.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Volunteers: Kevin, Tim, and Tim

This week we have several volunteers in our hangar: Kevin, Tim, and Tim.

Kevin and the first Tim are father and son. Kevin volunteered with us earlier this year as part of the missions team from LeTourneau University which spent a week with us in March. Kevin was interested in returning, shared MMS with his father, and Tim asked if he could accompany his son as an additional volunteer on a three day visit. Of course, we said, "Of course."

Kevin's been busy for the past two days cleaning engine parts from the LAMP Cessna 337. Tim worked on the airframe of the 337 and today assisted with an oil change on a local airplane. It's a blessing to be able to provide the opportunity for these willing men to help move mission aviation forward.

Kevin cleans engine parts.

Tim (Kevin's Dad) assists with an oil change.

Thank you Kevin and Tim for taking time out of your busy lives to spend three days in service with us.

Our third volunteer, and second "Tim" in the post headline, is in a little bit different situation as he already has his A&P certificate and is serving with Wycliffe Bible Transators in Papua New Guinea. Tim is volunteering with us to gain additional experience that will be of benefit on his return to PNG later this year. Providing additional or advanced training to missionaries already assigned to a field program is another way that MMS serves the greater mission aviation community. We look forward to getting to know this Tim better over the next few months.

Tim and the Honduran 206 horizontal stabilizer.

Welcome to MMS, Tim.

Friday, June 5, 2009

More Magnetos

Another magneto toubleshooting opportunity developed today. A Cessna 172 owned by one of our staff is scheduled to be used as part of a Christian aviation camp next week. In fact, three of our personnel: Ian, Scott G., and Paul are going to serve as staff for the week long aviation camp.

On an earlier flight with the 172, Paul had struggled to get the airplane started. Over the past couple days the guys had investigated the problem to identify the cause. Today they pulled the magnetos.

Ian checks the engine timing while Andy pulls the magnetos from the Cessna 172.

Ian oversees, and Andy observes, as Paul runs the troublesome magneto on the test stand.

Ian instructs Andy and Paul in what to look for when troubleshooting a magneto. In this case the trouble proved to be a bad coil.

With the bad magneto coil replaced and both the magnetos re-installed, the 172 started immediately and ran smooth.

Learning by doing. That's one of the strengths of the MMS ministry. Solving real problems in real time for real airplanes and then taking those skills to the mission field. Thanks for being part of this great learning & maintenance opportunity for Andy and Paul through your gifts and prayers.