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Friday, January 29, 2010

Video: Hey, Paul, What Are You Doing Today?

Continuing my foray into the field of video, here's another clip from a recent quick trip through the hangar. This features apprentice mechanic Paul J. (as opposed to Paul G.) as he works on the Aztec annual inspection.

If you'd like to see additional video of Paul explaining various aspects of his aviation maintenance experiences in our hangar, visit his blog: Paul understands video AND airplanes!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Video: What Are You Doing Today, Mark?

As a new feature of our blog, I'll occasionally include video clips from my trips through the hangar where I'll stop and ask one of our mechanics, "What are you doing today?" I'm naturally more oriented toward still photography so I greatly appreciate your patience as I dabble in video.

Here's the first clip in the "What Are You Doing Today" series. It features Mark, one of our apprentice mechanics as he makes a repair to one of the missionary airplanes we regularly maintain.

The red airplane behind Mark is the Cessna 337 that we're repairing for a ministry in Canada. The Aztec is actually off camera to the left. You can just see right wing in the left side of the frame.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Video: A Walk-through Tour of Hangars A&B

Here's a quick walk-through tour of the projects currently being worked on in Hangars A&B. Activity is a bit lower than usual due to Ian, Josh and Chuck being on Rapid Response to Florida in support of Missionary Flights International's Haiti relief efforts, but we're still plugging away in our own little corner of God's Kingdom.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Back On The Blog

We're back on the blog today. Thanks for your patience over the past week while I was out of the hangar. Here's a quick update on our four major projects:

Brazilian 206
While the guys are waiting on paint to finish of the repaired wings, the instrument panel upgrade continues. With the basic nav/com stack wired up, Mike's shifted over to fabricating a metal instrument panel to replace the standard plastic style panel.

Here's a shot of the new nav/com wiring harness that Mike made.

Mike cuts aluminum away from the 206's old instrument panel.

Pfeifer Aztec
The annual inspection of the Aztec is well underway. The airframe has been opened up and both engines are currently undergoing inspection. Dale is overseeing this project.

Tim replaces safety wire on the Aztec's right propeller.
The Canadian 337 is in the background.

Paul J. inspects the Aztec's left engine.

Canadian 337
Paul G. is repairing the cargo pod, Chuck is making repairs to the horizontal stabilizer, and Scott and Dale soon hope to have the front engine mounted on the run-up stand in the test cell.

Honduran 206
Completion of this project is now on hold awaiting return of a radio sent out for repair.

Friday, January 15, 2010

The Week Comes to a Close at MMS

As our week of hangar service draws to a close, everyone's still plugging away on their various aviation maintenance tasks.

Josh installs seat track in the Brazilian 206.

Jim squeezes his head between panel supports to work on wiring behind the panel.

Paul G. continues installation of new control cables in the Canadian 337.

Pfiefer Evangelical Association just flew their Aztec in for its annual inspection.

Thanks for stopping by. We appreciate your interest in our ministry.

By the way, I'll be out of the hangar next week so the blog will resume on January 25th.

Have a great weekend.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Hangar Snapshots on Thursday Afternoon

As part of a "while-the-missionary-waits, fly-in & fly-out" maintenance service, Mike torques the oil filter in place after changing the oil in the right (and left) engine of GCI's Cessna 310.

Ian installs an engine mount on the Brazilian 206.

Mark installs vacuum tubing behind the panel of the Brazilian 206.

Paul G. repairs control cables inside the Canadian 337.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Brazilian 206

While Ian's running wires into the tail cone, Josh is installing seat rails, Mark is installing door windows, and Paul is tracking down fuel tank leaks, Mike and Jim are working on the avionics installation for the 206 being restored for ministry in Brazil.

Jim fabricates a bracket to mount avionics.

Mike builds the wiring harness for the nav/com stack.

There's a high level of activity all over and around this airplane as the guys work to complete this project by the end of March.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Weather Report and Friday Project Updates

Weather Report
Five inches of snow fell over the past 24 hours and we may receive another inch or two over the weekend. It's warmed to 20 degrees though the wind looks like it's picking up a bit. Everyone made it into the shop today and our three primary projects continue to move closer to completion though manpower is primarily focused on the Canadian 337 and the Brazilian 206 right now.

Canadian 337
Scott and Dale continue to assemble the front engine as Chuck and Paul G work on the airframe.

Scott sets a cylinder stud.

Dale oversees Scott as he measures "backlash" on the magneto drive gear to make sure it's within tolerance.

A close-up of measuring the mag gear's backlash.

Chuck makes a repair to the 337's horizontal stabilizer.

Brazilian 206
Josh is installing seat track, Mike is organizing wiring, Mark is working on the cargo doors, and Jim is installing avionics/electrical hardware on the Brazilian 206.

Jim installs a bracket to hold electrical components on the engine side of the firewall.

Have a great weekend and stay warm or stay cool depending on where you're spending your winter!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Replacing and Rewiring An Instrument Panel

The Brazilian 206 project is the second consecutive aircraft restoration where we've been asked to completely redesign and rewire the airplane's instrument panel. The recently completed Moody 182 project being the prior request. It's quite an intricate, labor intensive, and painstaking process. Along with all the new wiring and new nav/com stack, the plastic instrument panel will be replaced with one fabricated from steel.

Andy removes all the wiring and hardware behind the 206's plastic instrument panel.

The "gutted" panel area.

Some of the guts.

Andy and Mike organize the tools, components, and wires necessary to replace, restore, and upgrade what was removed.

While this is a relatively routine level of maintenance for us as an organization, it provides quite an in-depth level of maintenance experience for the apprentices involved. Learning how to rewire a panel through actually rewiring the panel of a missionary airplane adds a different level of realty to the training situation.

It's a blessing to serve the mission aviation community by preparing people to serve as missionary aircraft mechanics while preparing missionary airplanes for service around the world. Thanks for being part of it through your gifts, prayers, and encouragement.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Canadian 337

The restoration of the Cessna 337 for ministry in Canada with LAMP continues. Dennis is overseeing the project, Chuck is working with Paul G. on the airframe, and Dale is working with Scott on the engine overhauls.

The LAMP 337 in Hangar A.

Scott installs a piston as part of the build-up of the 337's front engine.

Paul G. prepares to overhaul the 337's hydraulic power pack.

It's a good project with lots of good experience for our mechanics. It may not look like it, but the airplane is almost to the point where it will soon start to coming back together!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Snow and the Brazil 206

We returned to the hangar this morning with five inches of fresh snow on the ground. The main roads were in good shape and it's always nice when the snow plow beats us up the hill that leads to the airport. Yesterday we beat the snow plow up the hill and Andy gained some winter driving experience.

Snow on the ground means "Dave's on the Steiner". Dave, our facilities manager, is our dedicated snow removal specialist. And I mean dedicated. It's very important for an aviation facility to have full ramp access in all types of weather. To have full ramp access means the snow needs to be constantly cleared so airplanes can be moved or parked wherever and whenever they need to be. Even a small amount of snow on the ramp can make it nearly impossible to tow or move an aircraft into a different hangar or position. Dave makes sure we're always able to move aircraft.

Dave clears the ramp between hangars B & C.

Brazil 206
The Brazil 206 fuselage has been painted, the wings are repaired and ready to be painted, and work's begun on building the avionics harness for the airplane's communication/navigation stack.
It won't be long before this airplane starts coming back together. The goal is to have it completed by the end of March.

The painted fuselage in our paint booth

Jim wraps a wiring harness.

Andy, Jim, and Mike organize components to complete the wiring project.

I'll update on the 337 for ministry in Canada over the next couple days. It looks like we're going to spend most of tomorrow taking part in the annual review of our Standard Operating Procedures manual.

Monday, January 4, 2010

We're Back At Work!

Welcome to 2010! Everyone's back in the hangar and ready for another year of serving our Lord through preparing people and planes for worldwide mission service.

The first order of the day, after returning from Christmas break, is to perform our year-end inventory.

While it's not the most exciting activity, it is an important activity as we reconcile actual count with our records. Consequently, the guys are down in the hangar happily counting and measuring the day away. If everything goes smoothly, inventory should be finished tomorrow. After inventory is completed we'll take a full day to review our Standard Operating Procedures manual as a group. Now THAT's something to look forward too!

Actually, the group SOP review is an important activity too. Not only does it provide a refresher of the SOP contents, it also provides a forum for us to analyze whether or not we're operating "by the book". And if we discover areas in which we're operating inconsistently with the SOP we can then decide whether we need to change our practice to conform to the procedure or change the procedure to conform with our current practice. We always have good discussions during this process.

Jim, Tim, Mike, and Mark organize for inventory.

Dennis & Andy focus on the job at hand.

Ian, Mike, and Mark conducting inventory.

Weather-wise we're back in the snow mode...

Two inches of fresh snow with more falling.

It's great to be back and posting blogs again. Stop by often. I'll update on the aircraft projects soon.