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!

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