Lately I’ve taken on an extra role of keeping
MMS Aviation’s Facebook page updated. I enjoy photography and I enjoy watching the various projects in the hangar so it’s fun to give updates about them. However, many people do not have Facebook. Frankly, not having Facebook is probably better than having it. But even if you do follow MMS Aviation, it can be easy to miss some updates. (Related: An Airplane Mechanic’s Guide to Raising Children) So I thought it would be beneficial to share the pictures from the last two weeks on a blog post so everyone out there can see what’s going on in the hangar! Right now there are projects in the hangar that affect Brazil, China, Guatemala and other countries in Central America, Haiti, and South Africa. (Related: The Bearhawk Project) I don’t really have pictures of myself – that’s the disadvantage of being the photographer. Living in Ohio doesn’t mean that we can’t have significant impact on worldwide missions. Here’s a window into the hangar the last two weeks…
Bryan Martin organizes a list of parts needed to overhaul an IO-520 from a Beech Bonanza that serves domestically offering free life flights and other charity flights. Each apprentice typically gets to overhaul at least one engine and assembling parts lists is one of the first steps. MMS Aviation is an FAA certified repair station with the capability to perform major overhauls on many common engines. Apprentices are responsible to determine which parts are needed. Then they send out quote requests to different suppliers. Once the quotes come back, they assemble the order lists and make the purchases. This process saves a lot of money on parts and also allows apprentices to become familiar with the major vendors in the general aviation industry – something that will come in handy when they’re on the mission field. It also helps apprentices become very familiar with the internal workings of a horizontally opposed engine. And the more they understand what goes on inside an engine, the better they get at troubleshooting them!
Jenny, Chuck, and Dale discuss how to address a discrepancy found in the wing of the amphibious Cessna 206 that’s being assembled in our hangar. It will serve in the Amazon when it is done here. It’s amazing to see an airplane arrive in cardboard boxes and then, months later, fly away into the sunset ready to serve a grand purpose! Jenny is doing a fine job supervising this complex project. Dale is our Chief Inspector and Chuck has had many years of experience working on Cessnas.
Here Chuck Egbert is working on the amphibious Cessna 206 currently in our hangar. Chuck has been on staff here at MMS Aviation for 15 years and has recently become a Designated Mechanic Examiner. This means he can administer oral and practical tests in our hangar. He always enjoys announcing the certification of a new mechanic over the hangar’s paging system.
Talk about a happy airplane! The amphibious Cessna 206 is out of the paint booth with a fresh, beautiful coat of paint. Josh Adelsberger (supervisor) did a great job spraying. Jenny Haver (Project Supervisor), Kyle Wagner (apprentice), and Rebekah Patterson (apprentice) did a great job taping off stripes and prepping surfaces. Kyle Wagner works on assembling the rudder pedals while Chuck (supervisor) works on paperwork way in the background. A freshly overhauled Continental IO-520 sits on a crate awaiting installation. The fuselage is currently on conventional landing gear so it’s easy to move around.
Jim and Jay sort through some technical data to find the information they need. Using approved data is an important part of aviation maintenance. Many discussions between apprentices and staff arise as apprentices grapple deciphering FAA regulations, Service Bulletins, Airworthiness Directives, MIL specs, and Illustrated Parts Catalogs. We’re blessed to have very capable staff with years of experience under their belts and are ready and willing to share all that wisdom with the up-and-coming missionary aviation mechanics in the hangar. Pray that God’s glory would be spread worldwide by the people and planes that leave these hangars!
Here Jay Shearer performs an inspection on the engine of a Super King Air 200 which is used in a ministry that serves Chinese nationals living in the United States. Apprentices here get to turn wrenches, twist safety wire, and build their library of puns and jokes as they solve problems alongside experienced mechanics like Jay on real life missionary airplanes.
Mark Heikoop helps troubleshoot an electrical discrepancy during a routine inspection of a King Air that serves Chinese nationals in America. When Mark and his wife Janelle aren’t serving in Zambia, Mark helps get projects done in the hangar here in Ohio. We’re happy to have Mark’s friendly Canadian cheer brightening the hangar and we look forward to Jannelle’s amazing baked treats that find their way to our lunchroom.
Rebekah stands in the wheel well of a King Air while assisting in an inspection of a King Air that is used in a ministry reaching Chinese nationals in the United States. Rebekah has her private pilot’s license and is going through the apprenticeship here at MMS Aviation to get the maintenance experience she needs to serve in mission aviation. After she’s done at the hangar here, she plans to continue her pilot training through MMS Aviation’s flight training partnership with Missionary Air Group (MAG). Through this partnership, apprentices here can start without any previous aviation experience and learn to both fix and fly missionary airplanes in four and half years!
Rebekah Patterson measures tappet clearances on a Continental IO-360. Learning to read bore gauges, vernier calipers, and micrometers can be frustrating, but usually by the end of the engine overhaul an apprentice has become proficient with them! The ministry who uses this engine won’t pay any labor charges for this engine overhaul which will save them thousands of dollars, helping them be a good steward with Kingdom dollars! Plus, the experience Rebekah gets here in our hangar will help one more pilot/mechanic get to the field equipped and ready to serve. It’s a win-win! In fact, right now there’s four engines being overhauled or getting ready to be overhauled in our engine shop and more waiting in line, all from Christian mission organizations.
Mark Heikoop (1st picture) and Chris Jutte (2nd picture) work on replacing the de-ice boots on the Super King Air 200 that’s currently in our hangar. First, the old boots must be removed. It involves a lot of solvent, scraping, and sore wrist muscles. Doing a good job removing the old residue is critical for a nice installation of the new boots. It seems like there’s an analogy about sanctification in there somewhere. In fact, there’s a lot of analogies that can be made as we disassemble dirty old airplanes, clean them, repair them, improve them, and then send them out for Kingdom service. We’re thankful that God patiently performs the same maintenance on us!