Disclaimer: I’m a new apprentice at MMS Aviation and while I try to be accurate, some of my nomenclature, technical terms, and general information may be incorrect.

The cool thing about MMS Aviation is that while you’re learning the ropes of aviation maintenance, you’re also an active participant in repairing live, active missionary airplanes so they can get back to work on the field. Getting your hands dirty is the best way to learn something! Recently we shipped a Cessna 182 with a diesel conversion to Uganda for missionary service with an MAF affiliate. It was fun, challenging, and a little frightening as as we figured out how to get an airplane into a shipping container and pack it well enough so that it didn’t get damaged during shipping. It’s a little more challenging than packing up a shirt you sold on eBay, that’s for sure. It’s crossing the ocean while sitting on the deck of an ocean liner so it will be exposed to hot temperatures, humid conditions, and quite a bit of jostling. Thankfully the folks at MMS are great at this sort of thing. Here’s some pics of the process (and I’ll narrate along the way)…

Here’s the airplane outside Hangar B. The Certificate of Airworthiness has been issued and the plane is ready to be shipped!
Here the right landing gear leg has been taken off so we can install the transport gear which are much narrower and has brackets that can be bolted to the floor of the container.
Here’s the transport gear. Once the plane is in the container, we’ll install some “L” brackets that bolt to the floor and then we’ll remove the tires for transport.
The empennage is removed. The horizontal stabilizer, vertical stabilizer, rudder, and elevators will get wrapped in foam and strapped to the walls of the shipping container.
The left wing comes off…
…And then the right wing comes off.
Did you know there’s only eight bolts holding the wings on? It’s true! But they are big bolts and more than adequate for their assigned duties.
We fabricated a wing rack out of 2×4’s. To hold the wings in place, we cut the top profile of the wings into the braces then wrapped the braces in old mattress foam. Somebody held the boards tight while another technician screwed the boards fast.
Backing the fuselage into the container.
Doing the final checks. Before we closed the doors for good, we took the front tire off and mounted the axle to a wooden block that was bolted to the container floor.
After it was all packed up and ready to go, we prayed for a safe journey and hired a crane to load it onto the truck.
This is the logbook for the Cessna we shipped. It has every modification, repair, service difficulty, and change of ownership recorded in it since it was manufactured.

We had the Cessna all wrapped up and ready to ship but we ran into a little miscommunication on shipping timelines and so the container sat in our driveway a few extra days. This turned out to be a blessing to the ministry. They operate a fleet of similar aircraft and as we were waiting to get the Cessna picked up, they had a $7,000 turbocharger malfunction on the Cessna they were operating in Uganda. They quickly contacted us and asked us to take the turbo off of the airplane in the container and then ship it to them through an international delivery service. Since the engines were the same on both airplanes, they could easily swap turbos. We quickly got the turbo removed, boxed up, and shipped through an international delivery service. Now they could get the Cessna in Uganda flying again within several weeks instead of several months! It’s neat to see God work through frustrating situations.

A big thanks to all you supporters out there who make my involvement in these projects possible. Thank you! If you want to help make our training and future work as a maintenance specialist possible, you can support our work by using this link.

Blessings from Ohio,

Josh