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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Engine Work on the King Air

Josh, Ian, Paul, and Ian continue to focus their efforts on finishing the inspection and routine service of the King Air's engines.

Josh

Paul

Ian

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

King Air Pase Inspection, Day 7

The guys continue to move closer to completion of Phase Inspection 3 & 4 on the King Air. Josh is reinstalling the interior, Andy is finishing the inspection of the tail structure, and Ian and Mike are inspecting the inside of the engines with a borescope. It's important to look inside a turbine engine and to inspect the rotors and vanes for the smallest defects due to the high-speeds and tremendous pressures generated within the engine.

Ian, on the ladder, positions the scope so the internal components of the right engine can be seen on the borescope's video screen. Mike, on the right, controls the scope imagery, and Dale assists in analyzing the visual details.

Ian removes the right side exhaust port of the left engine so it can be "scoped" as well.

Dale continues work on the annual inspection of a local Piper Comanche.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Inside and Outside the GCI King Air

Here are some contrasts in maintenance procedures. In the first shot, Mike has crawled under the control panel inside the cockpit. Josh assists Mike by moving the control yoke fore and aft as needed to accomplish the task behind the panel.

Mike and Josh inside the King Air.

In the second shot Andy uses an electric scissors lift to inspect the King Air's tail section and control surfaces.

Andy outside the King Air.

Whether working cramped inside the fuselage or high on a scissors lift outside the fuselage, it's still work. Work necessary to ensure the airworthiness of the airplane and the safety of the passengers it will soon carry.

It's a privilege to have the opportunity to maintain such an airplane and to have you as part of our team. Through your gifts and prayers, you're with Mike and Josh inside the airplane and with Andy up high on the lift outside the airplane. May God receive the glory.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Maintenance Continues On The King Air

The inspection process of Gospel Carrier International's King Air 200 continues to go deeper into the airframe and the engines. Simultaneously conducting phase inspections 3 & 4 is a great maintenance strategy minimizing aircraft down-time, while utilizing maximum manpower.

Ian & Paul inspect engine filters, Dennis & Tim address an airframe issue on the wing, and Mike checks engine components. Chuck, Andy, Josh, and Jim are also assigned to the project.

The Pratt Whitney PT-6 engine.

Ian closely scrutinizes one of the filters for the engine.

Paul matches new O-rings with various engine filters.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

GCI's King Air 200

Gospel Carrier International's Super King Air 200 is in Hangar C to undergo phase inspections #3 & 4.

The King Air in Hangar C.

Ian maintains the left engine.

Chuck works on the nose gear steering system.

Josh, Andy, & Paul refer to the manuals as a regular part of the King Air inspection.

Josh & Andy install the right main gear strut after disassembly, inspection and repair.

The King Air will be with us through next week.

Friday, September 18, 2009

One Aileron? One $4,500 Savings!

While preparing missionary airplane mechanics for field service, and doing the work necessary to return missionary airplanes to the sky, our ministry at MMS saves the mission community money three ways: 1) by not charging labor for the work done at our facility, 2) by sourcing serviceable used parts when appropriate, and 3) by fabricating parts instead of buying them.

How To Save $4,500
The Honduran 206 needed a new aileron for the right wing. The aileron is the outboard control surface on each wing that enables the airplane to "roll" right and left. Corrosion had damaged the existing aileron to the point it needed to be replaced. Researching replacement, Ian discovered that a new aileron purchased from Cessna would cost nearly $5,000 based on 2008 pricing. He also learned that Cessna didn't have any ailerons in stock.

Consequently, Ian disassembled the existing aileron, inspected the structure, ordered the component parts and skins necessary, and began building an aileron for the airplane.

Ian disassembles and inspects the aileron structure.

Ian uses the airplane as a "jig" to align holes and sheet metal components.

Ian assembles the "new" aileron.

What will building this new aileron cost the Honduran mission? Ian estimates there will be less than $500 spent on materials when all is said and done. $500 for MMS to build it compared to $5,000 to buy it. How's that for a nifty $4,500 savings for mission aviation?

This is just one instance of the type of thing that goes on every day here at MMS. Thanks for helping us minister to the lost, to the missions themselves, and to prepare workers for The Harvest through your gifts and your prayers.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Serving God's Kingdom Isn't Always Exciting

Serving God's Kingdom isn't always exciting by this world's standards. Far from it. This world demands flash, style, and success. Constant external change is required to hold people's attention with each change making things more dynamic in impact and appearance. It's external, short-term, eye catching and leads one in the wrong direction. This is the wrong world, the wrong kingdom.

In God's Kingdom quiet faithfulness, perseverance, and endurance are what God uses to provide eternal fruit: hearts and lives changed from the inside out for His glory. There may not be much to look at, but there's a lot going on.

Let me provide three glimpses into God's Kingdom work at MMS featuring faithfulness, perseverance, and endurance. Keep in mind that before the "fruit of flight" is received, there's a lot of work in the dirt that needs to happen.

LAMP 337
Before we return an airplane to the field, as a regular part of preparing for the inspection process, everything in the airplane needs to be cleaned. The aircraft interior is removed and floor panels are pulled to reveal the belly skins of the airplane where everything dirty and grimy collects. Wire brushes, rags, and appropriate cleaning fluids are are put into use. There's nothing inherently exciting about going over the guts of an aircraft inch by inch with a toothbrush and a vacuum cleaner.

Chuck cleans the guts of the 337 with a wire brush and vacuum.

Honduran 206
After an interior has been removed, it needs to be reinstalled. You may not be surprised to learn that interiors come out much faster than they go in. While sitting in a airplane, the interior looks simple: a couple pieces of plastic, leather, some trim...but when having to reinstall an interior very little is simple and just because it was removed from the airplane, it doesn't guarantee it's going to going to fit when reinstalled. Of course, throw in fitting new pieces to the old interior and complexity becomes the name of the game. There's nothing inherently exciting about clearing, tucking, tightening, and securing the headliner of a missionary airplane back in place.

Tim F. and Logan work in cramped quarters tucking the headliner on the Honduran 206 back into place.

Brazilian 206
Everyone can appreciate a nice looking paint job on an airplane. But few people understand the painstaking preparation that goes into a high-quality paint job. There are thousands of rivets on the average missionary airplane. The area around each one of those rivet heads can collect and/or retain contaminants that will bubble paint and prevent the paint from adhering properly. While there are ways of removing large areas of paint from an airplane, the details are where it makes the difference when it comes to rivet heads. There is no fast way to guarantee rivet head edges are properly clean beyond inspecting and cleaning each individual rivet head. There's no inherent excitement in spending hours and hours cleaning rivet heads with a pick.

Paul cleans rivet head by rivet head prior to spraying fresh paint on the horizontal stabilizer for the Honduran 206.

Faithfulness, Perseverance, Endurance
But don't get me wrong. It is exciting here. Anywhere God's work is being accomplished there is a sense of excitement in His children and God's work is being accomplished at MMS. If you walk into our hangar and talk to Chuck, Tim, to Logan, or to Paul, you'll sense the excitement even in the grit, the grim, and the tediousness of their given tasks. Airplanes are being prepared to reach the lost and God's Kingdom is being expanded one rivet head, one interior, one inspection, one repair at a time.

Thank you for helping make this excitement possible through your gifts and your prayers.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Crates, Cowling, And Another Cessna

There's a lot going on as the week comes to a close. Let me list the current aircraft projects in the hangar and the projects "waiting in the wings."

Current Projects and Percent of Completion
Cessna 172 for ministry in the US: annual inspection, 98%
Cessna 206 for ministry in Honduras: complete restoration; 80%
Crating an overhauled engine for shipment to a mission in Zambia, Africa, 40%
Crating a disassembled engine for shipment to a mission in South Africa, 30%
Cessna 337 for ministry in Canada: overhaul both engines, inspect airframe; 15%
Piper Comanche: annual inspection, 10%
Cessna 206 for ministry in Brazil: complete restoration; 2%

Waiting In The Wings
Cessna 172, annual inspection
Cessna 402, spar cap replacement for a ministry in Maine. (This project is going to be a major project requiring wing removal and in-depth disassembly, structural repair, and reassembly.)
GCI's King Air 200 is scheduled arrive for phase inspections 3 & 4 in the next two weeks.

In talking with Tim, MMS Production Manager, based on the aircraft projects already here, we're not able to schedule any additional work for the next six months. Having two new apprentice families arrive in the next month or so will add some welcome hands and willing hearts to help lighten the work load. The challenges are real and the expectations are high. Thanks for being part of our hangar through your gifts and your prayers.

Wings To The Word's Cessna 402 arrived yesterday for spar cap replacement.

Josh crates his engine for shipment to Zambia, Africa.

Tim crates his engine for shipment to South Africa.

Paul prepares one half of the used cowling for paint prior to installation on the Honduran 206.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Fly-in Service and Parts is Parts

Fly-in Service
Not all maintenance projects are scheduled in advance. It's not uncommon for a local pilot to stop in with a question, for the airport to ask us to assist with an aircraft over at the terminal, or for a transient airplane to arrive on our ramp requesting maintenance assistance.

That happened yesterday with one of the US-based mission airplanes we maintain. The missionary called and reported a strange noise in the aircraft. Tim recommended he bring the aircraft in which the missionary did. After a brief inspection the noise was identified, a repair was made, and the aircraft was returned to service while the missionary waited. It's nice to be able to provide that immediate service to our customers whether missionary or not.

Tim performs maintenance on the missionary Aztec.

Parts Is Parts
Well, that may be true in the old chicken advertisement, but in an airplane not just any part will do and you can't just grind a bunch of parts together and call it an airplane. Well, maybe you can, but it wouldn't be an "airplane" you'd want to fly in.

Part of the job "before the job" of building an engine is making sure you have all the correct parts on hand before building the engine begins. Not only do we locate the correct parts, but our guys also work to find the best price on the parts. Sometimes this takes more times than others, all variables considered. Scott is in that process right now. Responsible for the engine overhauls on LAMP's Cessna 337, Scott is spending considerable time on the computer, emailing and talking with vendors, and purchasing the parts he needs in order to move ahead.

As Josh wraps-up his engine build and clears and cleans the engine shop, Scott's goal is to be ready to move in the engine shop as soon as Josh is out.

Scott orders parts to build the Cessna 337 engines.

Honduran 206
Electrical trouble-shooting is Paul's focus on the Hondruan 206 right now. The first time power is applied to the electrical system of any aircraft that's undergone major electrical renovation or upgrades can sometimes be somewhat exciting. The goal is to make sure, "all the smoke stays inside the wires." And that goal was achieved with the 206. Yet, while keeping the smoke where it should be, there were a couple anomolies with the system that needed to be checked out. It's been a great opportunity for Paul to grow in his understanding of an aircraft's electrical system.

Paul and Dale discuss the Honduran 206's electrical system.

Thanks for being part of these projects and helping prepare a future generation of missionaries through your gifts and your prayers.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Now That The 182 Is Done...

With so much of the last few blogs focused on the wrap-up and departure of the Moody Aviation 182 restoration project, I thought it might be time to review some of the other aircraft projects currently underway.

Engine Overhaul for CMML in Zambia, Africa
As I type this, the "hhmmmm" sound of a high-performance aircraft engine running at high rpm travels from the test cell, across Hangar A, and into my office cubicle. It's not loud in my office, but there's no mistaking there is a lot of power under control not all that far away. It's smooth, it's sweet, and it's proof that this engine is only a matter of minutes away from being crated up and shipped to Zambia, Africa where local mechanics will install it on the firewall of a Cessna 207.

Josh oversaw the tear-down and build-up of the engine. He's the one at the controls in the test cell, logging engine performance, measuring oil consumption, and tweaking engine settings. Ah, the rpms just dropped. They're cooling the engine before shutting it down. It's a wonderful sound, an engine, overhauled, and running like it was built to run.

Josh, Dennis, and Tim observe the engine run.

Cessna 337 for Ministry in Canada
The 337 is in for both engines to be overhauled and for the airframe to be inspected. This is another major project. Both engines have been disassembled, specific parts sent for inspection, and parts are being ordered to begin the build-up of the front engine. Scott and Chuck are working together on this project: Scott on the engines and Chuck on the airframe. All eight fuel tanks have been removed and the de-ice boots are being replaced. You can tell from the picture there's a lot to do before this airplane begins to come back together.
LAMP's Cessna 337 project

Honduran 206
This project is nearing completion. The goal is to have it back in Honduras before the end of the year. The interior is being prepared for installation and electrical and rigging work continues. There's still a bit of work to do on the instrument panel itself. Tim and Paul are teamed up to get this airplane back into the sky.

Honduran 206

Other Projects
There's another major restoration project getting ready to ramp back up and that's the Cessna 206 for ministry in Brazil. Two airplanes are in for annual inspection: a local Comanche and a second Cessna 172 used by Gospel Carrier International.

Thanks for your interest in these projects and the men doing the work. It's a privilege to serve in such a strategic way.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Video: The Moody 182 Returns To Service

As a follow-up to yesterday's post about the Moody 182's departure, here's a video Paul put together to document the event. Enjoy!

#22 The Moody Bible Institute Cessna 182 Returns to Service from Paul Jones on Vimeo.