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Friday, March 27, 2009

Mechanic Milestones

As this week draws to a close it's exciting to report two mechanic milestones:

First, David Mozombite has completed his thirty months of service with MMS and gained 4,800 hours of aviation maintenance experience toward taking the FAA exams to receive an Airframe & Powerplant (A&P) mechanic's certificate. David plans to take the A&P exams next month.

David and Amy are in application with South America Mission (SAM) and hope to serve as a maintenance specialist family with SAM's flight program in Bolivia.

Second, Bat-Enkh has just passed the FAA exams to receive his Inspection Authorization (IA). Bat-Enkh previously served with MMS for six months in 2004. At that time he came over from Mongolia to finish the preparation process to test for his A&P certificate. Passing the exams, he then served in Tanzania for two years before returning to full-time service as a maintenance specialist in Mongolia.

With the required years of experience as an A&P under his belt, Bat-Enkh returned to MMS three weeks ago to study and take the IA exam. Having passed the exam, he'll soon return to Mongolia where his IA will greatly benefit their flight program as well as the broader general aviation community in that part of the world.

Thank you for being part of the lives of both of these men through your gifts and prayers for MMS Aviation.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Wednesday Project Report

It's cool, breezy and rainy today so we still have the hangar doors closed. After such a long, cold winter we're all ready to have the hangar doors open to enjoy sunshine and warmer temperatures. Those days are coming...

Taylorcraft Repair
Andy has finished his Basic Training and is developing his skills related to fabric coverings. He's currently re-covering a horizontal stabilizer for a regional Taylorcraft.

Andy secures the edge of the fabric to the horizontal stabilizer.

Moody 182 Restoration
The avionics system is the key project area remaining on the Moody 182. Structure needs to be reinforced, new aluminum components fabricated, existing wiring inspected and organized, new wiring harnesses made, and components need to be tested. It's an intricate and detailed, time consuming process.

Mike and Paul begin the process of creating all the wiring necessary for the182's communication and navigation system.

Honduran 206
Not totally forgotten in the focus on the Moody 182 is the Honduran 206 project. Scott is tasked with keeping that moving forward through making some additional sheet metal repairs to the leading edge of one of the wings. Once the 182 is completed, the combined team effort will be concentrated on the Honduran 206.

Scott trims the new leading edge section after he'd shaping it on a jig.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

GCI 172, Moody 182, and Rapid Response Trips

With the GCI King Air back in the air and the LeTourneau University missions team back in Texas, the normal maintenance routine is settling back over the hangar: drill a rivet, drive a rivet; measure aluminum, cut aluminum; remove a cover plate, inspect behind the cover plate. It may not always be exciting but, at one level or another, it's always rewarding to contribute to the expansion of God's kingdom

Projects Underway
GCI's Cessna 172 is new in Hangar A for several squawks to be checked out, work continues on the avionics installation in the Moody 182, Williams dropped by in GCI's 310 for a short visit, and two Rapid Response trips are in the works.

Ian oversees, Bat-Enkh, Gertjan, and Paul as they work on the avionics installation of the Moody 172.

Josh tests the vacuum system on the GCI 172.

The GCI 310 departs our facility.

Rapid Response Trips
Tim is currently organizing two Rapid Response trips requested by ministries in Florida and Zambia.

One of our mechanics will head to Wauchula, Florida this weekend and spend two weeks helping Harvest Aviation finish a couple projects before they move into their new hangar facility.

Another mechanic is scheduled to depart for Zambia, Africa next month to spend about five weeks helping CMML modify their newly purchased Cessna 182 for mission service.

Thanks for being part of our ministry through your time, your gifts, and your prayers. With your help we are expanding God's Kingdom one rivet at a time.

Monday, March 23, 2009

GCI's King Air returns to Service

We enjoyed a very spring-like day today. We also enjoyed watching Gospel Carrier International's King Air return to service after completion of scheduled maintenance.

The King Air leaves the back ramp,

turns onto the taxiway,

and returns to service.

Friday, March 20, 2009

LeTourneau Missions Team Day 5

It's hard to believe our week together is already over. Day 5 is coming to a close. It seems like the LeTourneau missions team just arrived and now they're rounding up tools, cleaning work areas, and preparing to spend the last few hours of daylight on a driving tour of Amish Country.

It's been a tremendous blessing to have Matt, Rachel, Pete, Kevin, Ben, Eli, Julia, and Ken with us as co-laborers for the past week. Much has been accomplished. The mission effort has been moved forward through their assistance with the Cessna 206 being restored for ministry in Brazil, with the Cessna 206 being restored for ministry in Honduras, with the Cessna 182 being restored for flight training with Moody Aviation, with scheduled maintenance on a King Air used by a ministry reaching the Chinese in the US and Canada, and even on our own Taylorcraft BL-65.

Here are some last minute snapshots:

Ben lubricates the propeller bolts on one of the two freshly overhauled propellers for the King Air.

Ben works with Andy to secure the prop in place.

Eli fabricates aluminum for a repair on the Moody 182 under Paul's supervision.

Pete prepares the leading edge of the Honduran 206 wing for use as a pattern in shaping the new skin while Mike instructs Julia in the disassembly and inspection of aircraft seats.

Kevin, Ken, and Rachel work to remove the cylinder head from our Taylorcraft in order to replace the head gasket.

Thank you for your help, guys and gals. It's been great having you as part of the MMS Aviation team over the past week. We look forward to having another group from LeTourneau University head our way this time next year. Safe travels and may God receive the glory!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

LeTourneau Missions Week Day 4

Day four continued the high level of production by the LeTourneau missions team as they serve in Hangar A, Hangar B, and Hangar C.

In Hangar A, work continues on the Cessna 206 being restored for service in Brazil while an engine donated to MMS is disassembled and inspected.

Matt removes a bellcrank from the right wing of the Brazilian 206.

Ken removes a bellcrank from the left wing of the Brazilian 206.

Rachel works with Chuck to disassemble the donated IO 360.

In Hangar B, the repairs to the leading edge of the left wing for the Honduran 206 moved forward.

Pete begins drilling out the rivets to remove the bad portion of the skin.

Pete with the skin section removed.

With the King Air pushed out of Hangar C, the engine nacelle fuel probes were removed for inspection.

Ben prepares to remove the fuel probe from the left nacelle.

Kevin and Bob work to remove the fuel probe from the right nacelle.

Mike, project team leader, confirms the left fuel probe is in excellent condition.

The King air was pushed back into Hangar C at the end of the day and awaits the delivery of its freshly overhauled propellers.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

LeTourneau Missions Week Day 3

With day three of LeTourneau's missions week well underway, Ken and Rachel have teamed up on a couple projects: inspecting the magnetos for a Lycoming IO-360 and preparing small airframe components from the Honduran 206 for paint. Kevin and Ben finished maintenance of the brake system of GCI's King Air and are continuing work on the airframe. Matt, LeTourneau faculty advisor, and MMS CEO, Dwight, are heading off to visit Preferred Airparts this afternoon.

With the missions trip at its halfway point there's still more work to accomplish (between the Honduran 206, the Brazilian 206, GCI's King Air, IO-360 and the Taylorcraft repairs) than there is time in which to accomplish it.

Ken and Rachel inspect magnetos under David's instruction.

After completing the magneto inspection, Ken & Rachel moved into Hangar C to prepare parts from the Honduran 206 for paint.

Bob oversees Kevin in the overhaul of a brake master cylinder from the King Air.

Kevin pumps hydraulic fluid into the brake system as Ben (0ff camera) inspects the fluid flow for air bubbles.

After completing the brake system, Kevin and Ben continue airframe maintenance on the King Air.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

LeTourneau Missions Week Day 2

There's so much going on with LeTourneau team in the hangar I thought I'd just feature the progress on one project in this post--the Cessna 206 restoration for ministry in Brazil. I'll try to catch up with the projects the other LeTourneau team members are involved in tomorrow.

In yesterday's blog, Matt had started to remove the topside skin from the tail cone.

Here's what it looks like with the skin removed.

While Mat was finishing the skin removal, Eli and Julia began work inside the fuselage pulling instruments from the panel in preparation for removing the windscreen.

Once the panel was opened up Eli moved outside to remove the lower windscreen retaining strip from the bottom of the windscreen.

With the strip removed, and a helping hand from Ian, the windscreen was pulled free.

Eli & Julia
Next up? I believe the "V" brace needs to comes out.

Monday, March 16, 2009

The LeTourneau University Missions Team Arrives

MMS is blessed to have an ongoing relationship with LeTourneau University's School of Aeronautical Science. For nearly every Spring Break since 2003, a missions team of aviation students and students interested in aviation has traveled from their campus in Longview, Texas to spend a week helping us maintain, modify and repair missionary aircraft. The team for 2009 arrived yesterday evening and is already hard at work in our hangar.

The Letourneau Team beside the Gospel Carrier International (GCI)
Super King Air 200 in Hangar C.

Eli and Julia work together to safety wire an
engine component on GCI's King Air 200.

Ken troubleshoots the purge valves on the King Air.

Ben fabricates a brake line for the King Air.

Scott instructs Pete in how to install a bell-crank for a Robertson STOL kit
in the wing of a missionary Cessna 206 from Honduras.

Rachel sandblasts an elevator for a Taylorcraft
in preparation for application of new fabric.


Kevin discusses reassembly of one of the King Air brake master cylinders with Paul.

Matt removes bad skin from a Cessna 206 restoration for a ministry in Brazil.

We're very pleased to have this group of young men and women serving with us this week.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Focus Aviation 206, Moody Aviation 182

Tim wrapped-up the annual inspection of the Focus Aviation Cessna 206 today. It will soon be back in service training prospective missionary pilots as well as helping keep mission pilots, back in the US on furlough, proficient in their flight skills.

Tim and Scott perform and engine run-up after completing the inspection.


The Moody 182 project continues to move ahead. Control surfaces are all hung, rigging is nearly finished, and the propeller has been mounted. The main task now is to complete the airplane's avionics upgrade and installation.

Paul safety-wires the propeller bolts on the Moody 182.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Seat Grinding, Valve Lapping, and Stone Dressing

Thankfully "stone dressing" has nothing to do with salads or food but everything to do with improving engine performance. For engines to hold compression and perform to their maximum capacity, valves must rest cleanly and firmly in their "seats." Sometimes valves leak and it becomes necessary to grind valve seats clean, lap valves smooth, and in doing so to "dress" the stone (prepare & true the stone's grinding surface angle) for use.

Under Dennis' instruction, several of our mechanics had the opportunity to dress stones, grind valve seats, and lap valves yesterday. One of the unique features of our ministry at MMS is that our mechanics gain the skills they need to serve by working on actual operational aircraft. The cylinders you'll see the guys working with in the photos below are going to go back on a live airplane. That makes the stress levels a bit higher when you put the high-power grinder on an actual valve seat and pull the trigger for the first time. It doesn't take very long to grind a valve seat. Maybe only a couple seconds depending on the specific situation but if you go too far...well, then that creates a whole other learning experience.

Experience. That's what we provide the opportunity to gain at MMS. The experience of of serving in a missionary environment, the experience of growing in Christ-likeness, and yes, even the experience of working on airplanes.

Chuck and Andy dress the stone for valve seat grinding.

Gertjan prepares to pull the trigger on the valve grinder
as Andy, Dennis, Paul & Chuck observe.

Bat-Enkh assists Paul with lapping a valve.

Friday, March 6, 2009

The Moody 182 is Swarmed

Swarming an airplane at MMS is getting everyone around it and putting everyone to work on it. Well, right now the Moody 182 is getting swarmed. (Actually, the GCI King Air was swarmed on Monday as both propellers needed to be pulled for overhaul. I'll post some photos of the propeller pull next week.)

David & Andy finalize installation of the 182's engine.

With Andy and David focused on finalizing the 182 engine, nearly all other personnel have turned-to in order continue moving the structural part of the restoration to conclusion. Control surfaces are being rigged, wing tips are being fitted and wired, ailerons are being hung, the horizontal stabilizer is being attached, final components are being painted, and it won't be long before the elevators are tightened to their control tube and the flaps will be in their tracks.

The swarm: two mechanics on the engine, four mechanics on the airframe.

Yet, four other projects are underway while the 182 swarm is on: the annual inspection of the Focus Aviation Cessna 206, two engine overhauls, and as mentioned above the King Air is in for scheduled maintenance.

Greg, a regular volunteer with MMS, works on the Focus 206 inspection.

We've had to postpone two new projects until later this year just because there's too much work for too few hands right now. We would appreciate your prayers as we work our way through these next few weeks and months on the hangar floor.

And as you pray, we could really use a couple additional field-experienced A&P's on staff with a passion to invest their knowledge, wisdom, and skills into the lives of those preparing to go.

Thanks for your gifts and prayers which make MMS' worldwide ministry possible!