Sunday, December 15, 2013

Mooney Maintenance

The Mooney returned from Bolivia (as pictured on the left) a little bit tired. So tired, in fact, that the GMI aviators agreed that this lovely little airplane would be used no longer as a mission plane but would be sold with the profits going toward purchasing and/or equipping a Cessna 182 for Bolivia.
DJ washed the engine down before beginning the annual inspection.
After DJ finished inspecting, there was a lot of work to do! We are VERY THANKFUL for the extra hands that have helped around the shop this fall.

Josh Wade, a recently certified A&P mechanic from Andrews was here for two months before heading to Belize where he is currently helping in construction and maintenance with MOVE (Missionary Outreach and Volunteer Evangelism training school). Dave Hardinger was also a blessing as he shared 2 weeks of his time wrenching in the shop.  
Dave Danielson volunteered many hours working on the cowling and painting various parts of the plane.  Dr. Opicka, former owner and donor of this aircraft, also spent many days turning screws and replacing broken parts.

Here Josh is balancing the newly painted aileron.

One of the biggest issues with the airplane was the fuel leaks from the wing tanks. Mooneys are notorious for having leaky tanks and this Mooney is no exception. Herman and others spent two weeks scraping out the sealant from the tanks and re-sealing them last fall, but there were still leaks needing attention as can be seen by the blue fuel staining.

DJ spent many days cleaning, sealing, and leak checking the wing tanks. Here is a picture of the process he used to find the leaks: Smear thick soap inside the wing tanks, place mirrors inside the tanks so that every corner and seam can be seen, cover the tank cover holes with plexiglass, tape/seal the plexi on and put a vacuum suction on the outlet. Bubbles appear where there are leaks in this vacuum chamber.
Pictured above is the process of trying to get all the soap OUT of the tanks! 
Excitement and a mess while bleeding the brakes
We should be finished with the annual and all the work shortly. We will put it on the market soon and put the profit towards a C182P for Bolivia.

Please pray with us for the donation of five Cessna 182P aircraft by the end of January. The GMI fleet really needed some TLC and re-organization. We have done what we can to sell unusable aircraft owned by GMI and pray that we can find replacements that will be safe and a blessing to the people in the countries where they are operating. There is still more work to do - a couple airplanes to sell in Guyana, annual inspections and sales of a couple planes in Bolivia, finishing equipping the 182Q that we worked on last winter, and attending to a handful of planes in various stages of mission field "readiness" around the States - all needing attention. Pray for workers and for God's blessing on our efforts! Thanks for your prayers and support!

SunnyBrook - Home, sweet, pilgrim home

Since we were into the "fix an auction car" mode, we thought that we could do the same with a 5th wheel trailer :D.
This is right after we picked it up and drove it home from the lot. Looks pretty good outside, right?
A little more rough on the inside though :/
There was a significant amount of water damage...more than we realized when we bought it at the auction!
Inside "before"
Water damage in the ceiling at the back of the trailer.
We took the trailer, and Josh Wade, the student missionary helping out at the shop for a couple months, to Heritage Academy for the process of making lemonade from this bit of lemon.
We went there for the convenience of a roof over our heads and the expert advice from the Suttons (Rich/Pam & Jason) along the way.

The "work in progress" mess. We actually didn't do much to the middle section of the trailer - just the front bedroom and the back section.
This is the roof "in progress." The vent covers are off, the front is plywood is off and exposed, and the a/c unit is hanging from the barn roof.
The bedroom. The beginning of the "gutting out" adventure.

Taking inventory at the rear of the trailer...
Deciding that it all needs to come off.
Including the outside piece on this side!
The bedroom was completely gutted out: walls, ceilings, floor. Every nail pulled and staple removed.
There was great joy in the camp when we decided we had pulled out enough and that it was time to build up once again.
Outside wall back on
Inside walls painted (Jodi & Pam) and stuck back together (DJ & Josh).
Rich helped DJ get started putting down a new roof rubber.
The bedroom finally finished!
The bathroom/shower with a cool double duty door.
As a final step, we re-carpeted the trailer.
Not quite finished, but live-able :D

We are living on a lot where a tornado took out the house a few years ago. In the foreground you can see our efforts to find the old septic tank. In the background, DJ fills a bucket at the hand pump that we put in. Our power hookup is there also by the meter box.
Home, sweet, pilgrim home
On a crisp, sunny morning

(borrowed from the old hymn...)
We are pilgrims, and we are strangers;
We can tarry here but a night.
...For we are going
to where the fountains are ever flowing.
...There the glory is ever shining
for our Redeemer is its light!
Our hearts are longing
for that city to which we journey:
Our heavenly SunnyBrook.

Acting "salesman"

In an earlier post we mentioned that we had plenty of work to keep us busy in Collegedale. True to our word, we've been so busy that things like this blog have been neglected. So sorry!!! Here's a little glimpse of the work that went on around here this past summer and early fall.

June 28 this lovely little airplane flew South to Florida with its happy new owners. This plane served well as a flight trainer when GMI was operating a flight training school, but since that school is no longer running, we're selling what we are not using and pursuing other more effective planes.
Next up was the 172...
The seat cushions BEFORE

The carpet BEFORE

AFTER: In addition to some exterior paint touch-ups that this 172 received (see earlier blog), it got a new interior make-over! Pictured here are the new seat covers that we put on. In the background, you can see the side panels that we painted with fabric dye to match the seats.
The baggage compartment shows some repainted plastic pieces and a new carpet.
We removed, re-painted, and re-installed all the head-liner plastics to sharpen up the plane.
Finally the airplane was ready for sale! By the grace of God, we had a buyer within 24 hours of posting it online and it was gone from our hangar in less than a week. This plane left August 25.
We needed to sell this plane, because it is a Cessna 172 and we are moving towards a standardized fleet of Cessna 182s (P-model).
This '56 model Cessna 182 left Collegedale with a happy buyer August 12. We didn't do much with this plane, but its "care-taker," Chris Jordan, did a bit of carpet work and some various fix-its before it was sold.
Again, for the purpose of standardizing the GMI fleet...
October 1 was just around the corner with the Aerostar annual due and God worked out a series of events that led to the sale of this airplane on the last day of September.

In addition to airplanes, we have been quite involved with helping the GMI headquarters/office get a different "fleet" of vehicles. Their vehicles were quite run-down and in need of much repair. Instead of constantly fixing them, we proposed a plan that would get them better cars.
Here is one of their cars that we sold.
Here is another car of theirs that we sold. The cash from this car enabled the purchase of two auction vehicles.
Rich & Pam Sutton worked on these two vehicles with the students at Heritage Academy, resulting in a double blessing: to the students at HA (as they learned from excellent mechanics) and to the headquarters here (as they have two fully functioning cars instead of just one and a couple "half-functioning" cars).

'05 Dodge Caravan
'03 Ford focus wagon

A year ago, we sold two scooters that had been donated to the flight school here in Collegedale. Since the flight school closed a couple years ago, there was little use for the scooters. In talking with the other pilots/mechanics, we all decided that it would be best to invest a little more money and replace them with an "airport" car for missionaries to use while in the States. So Rich found an auction car, bought it and got it driveable in May/June.

- after Rich/Pam fixed it to a road-worthy state -
As the summer progressed, we kept looking for a station wagon, which is what we originally wanted. In Sept./Oct. we found a wagon and Rich bought it and worked on it at Heritage Academy along with the 2 headquarters vehicles. We recently fixed some cosmetic damage on the first car (blue sedan) and it sold last week.
: D
Our "new" red wagon ;D
Ah, finally a standardized "fleet" of ford focus wagons!

Now for the standardized fleet of airplanes...