Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Today's Aircraft Repair Update from MMS Aviation

Hi Steve, 


We did start installing the interior yesterday, and after taking a close look at it again, the velcro is stitched onto the plastic floor covering sections. The loose velcro that I was seeing on the plastic was the velcro that had pulled up from the floor. 

We fabricated a new stainless door sill cover for the cargo door and installed that yesterday. 

When we were repairing the left flap yesterday, we found additional cracking on the lower skin that someone had stop drilled and filled the hole with body filler and then painted. I am not able to put that skin back on so we have a new skin on its way and will get that installed soon. The top skin has the same thing but we are able to do a repair. 

The instrument lighting was wired incorrectly and not working as it should. One transistor was missing and the dimmers were bad. I have a new dimmer here and we are in the process of rectifying that.

Dale

Monday, August 29, 2011

Video- The Story of God in Gabon


Video- Aircraft ready for paint

Here's another video that the MMS Aviation crew added just today! 


Video- Aircraft Tailcone removal

This was recorded by the crew at MMS Aviation on 12 August.  Enjoy!


Sunday, August 28, 2011

Aircraft Ready for Painting!

The progress continues with N207FD.  Here is the latest from our project director, Dale, at MMS Aviation, as the aircraft gets ready for paint:



Just a quick update.  All the structural repairs are complete and we are doing the last few things before 207FD goes into the paint booth.  I have included a picture.

We did however just find some extreme wear on the left flap.  one of the flap roller arms has a groove worn in it more than half way through, and will need to be replaced.  Unfortunately, the flap will have to come apart for us to do that, because the rib that it is attached to is riveted to the spar, and we cannot get to the rivets any other way.  We will start work on that next week.


Thursday, August 25, 2011

Full Circle!

Recently, a former family that was part of the team at the Bongolo Hospital, made the decision to launch across the border to the Republic of Congo, also called "Congo-Brazzaville".  They have been featured in a newspaper in the UK.  I'm posting it here for your reading pleasure:

Couple looking to provide new sight




After working with a charitable eye project in Gabon, West Africa, Henri Samoutou a senior ophthalmic technician with surgical skills who was born there, recognised the desperate need for eye surgery particularly in the poverty stricken Republic of Congo.
He found a considerable number of people becoming blind because of a lack of resources to correct treatable eye conditions such as cataracts.
Samoutou along with his Hong Kong-born wife, Joyce who is a GP, will take their medical expertise to Congo along with their three young children to live and work on their New Sight centre.
“When Henri spent four days there in April 2010, he was completely overwhelmed by desperate patients, many of whom waited for months, even years, and travelled for days to see him,” said Joyce.
Joyce who is also very passionate about the life-changing surgery that she and her husband will bring to the Congo, told the Yorkshire Evening Post: “Four out of five people who are blind don’t need to be. Out of those four, for more than 80 percent of them we would be able to sort something out with a simple cataract operation.”
The couple who are planning to make the move to Congo next year have so far raised £35,000 of their £100,000 target to fund the move.
Joyce is planning to handle the centre’s administrative duties and home school the children whilst Henri carries out the medical procedures at the centre.
The move to Congo will mean a drastic change in living conditions compared with those in West Yorkshire.
The family will go from having a continuous electricity supply to surviving on electricity only twice a week. They will also have to live on water coming from rain collection tanks.
However the pair are driven by their desire to transform lives.
“We feel very passionate about it,” Joyce said.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Back to School... Already!

This summer was one of our family's favorites by far!  The places we traveled, the people we met there, getting back to Gabon, the people who visited, the gathering with our Gabonese friends and more- an excellent summer break.  But, alas, it has come to an end.

After a 14 hour drive to Yaounde from Libreville, it didn't take long before the kids were moved in to their new home and making new friends.









See all the photos from the trip:  CLICK HERE

Monday, August 15, 2011

Recent Flights

Recent Flights

I am pleased to report that we have seen an increase of flights using a rental Cessna 206 for the support of the Bongolo Hospital, here in Gabon.   
      > 24 June:  Flight 1124a moved 2 large pieces of very fragile eye clinic machines from Libreville to Bongolo, avoiding the harsh roads below that would have surely left them inoperable.  These machines will now be used to make low-cost, near and far sighted eye glasses for those living in rural, hard to reach places.   

     > 24 June:  Flight 1124b assisted in transporting Bongolo Hospital staffers from Bongolo to Libreville so that they could arrive in time for important appointments at the immigration offices the next morning.   

      > 16 July:  Flight 1128a transported needed medical air mattress to Bongolo.   

      > 16 July:  Flight 1128b assisted in transporting the Air Calvary visiting team (Ralph A., Steve H., and Sarah) from Bongolo to Libreville where they could rejoin their church’s short term mission team. 

 >02 August:  Flight 1131a transported a wheelchair to a woman in need in the jungles near Bongolo.

     >  02 August:  Flight 1131b assisted visitors from Pittsburgh, PA to return from Bongolo to Libreville in time for their international flight the next day.

Without these flights, most would have to endure a bone-jarring 10 to 12 hour road journey.   Instead, they were treated to a bird’s eye view of the beautiful country of Gabon- flying past mountains, waterfalls, rivers, grasslands and more.  They were blessed to have their time at Bongolo expanded and the services of compassion they bring expedited.  God is at work with Air Calvary in Gabon and it is humbling to be involved.

The Latest on Aircraft Repairs

Here are a series of recent updates regarding the aircraft. All notes are from Dale, lead mechanic at MMS Aviation. (SEE the 28 July update to read about the new timeline for the completion of repairs!)

15 August:

Related to the HF radio installation.  The FAA came back to us and said that it was a no go, based on the fact that your aircraft is FAR Part 23 certified, and not CAR 3.  There have 2 issues:  first is that it is not flame resistant, and the second is that the wires are not self extinguishing.  We have submitted for another field approval today, and we will see what happens.




15 August:






We put the wings on so that we could do a symmetry check on the tail, which ended up being quite good.  Today I needed to lift the main off the ground for a short time, so I picked it up by lifting on the outboard portion of the wing.  When I did, I heard a "clunk" so I let it down, and I did it several more times to see where the noise was coming from.  I discovered that it was the lower strut attach fitting that has some damage(wear) in it.  When we move the wing we can feel movement there, and even see it if you look closely.  So, today I ordered a new fitting and will start the process of changing that out.  Of course, that is going to add an extra week or so.

28 July: 

We are waiting on some parts at the moment, as I found more wrong with the tailcone than I could see.  We have disassembled the tailcone and are starting on that while I wait for a rear carry through spar (again) we found that the one that we had was made incorrectly be Cessna. News on the HF radio is that we should get the approval in a week or so.  That means that I will have to stat buying some parts.  The power supply that is with the HF is not the correct one for our installation.  Also circuit breakers,. mounts antenna parts and a whole bunch of other things.  At this point in time, I plan to have 207FD completed at the end of September. 

01 August:
I was inspecting under the panel and in the circuit breaker panel, and found some wiring upgrades needed.  I also found some circuit breakers missing their amp rating on the face of the breaker.  I have taken care of a lot of the wiring, and a few more things should work now (fan, standby vacuum, taxi light to mention a few).  I wanted to know if I could clean up the breaker panel and install a few new circuit breakers (the pull type).  Also group things a little better than they are now.  The avionics bus is split into about 4 separate buses.  things are also not really labeled as they really are, so I would like to adjust the placards to reflect what the circuit breaker is really connected to.

03 August:
The ELT is not registered to your aircraft and will need to be sent away for reprogramming and registration will have to be done after that., reprogramming can only be done by the manufacturer.  cost of $450.  Do I have your permission to do this.  It was still registered to N9950M.

04 August:
Hi Steve. Today, I powered up the engine analizer and downloaded the data from your last 18 flights in Febuary and March of 2010, and the 2 times after that that you ran the engine on august 17th for the engine preservation.  Very good data, but unfurtunatly there is no fuel flow data, onlt CHT's and EGT's, battery voltage and oil temps. The tailcone is almost all put together with clecos.  We are repairing the section of the tailcone where the tie down bolt was, as there was previous damage, maybe some from your accident too.  So a new skin is going on there, a bulkhead repair and the new tiedown from MAF. Work continues. Dale

05 August:
My team is hard at work.  Josh is doing some final painting of the tail cone pieces, and getting the fuselage ready for painting.  Chuck is installing the spar carry through along with Phil.  Once that is in they will rivet the roof skins back on.  Andy is finishing up on the tail skid installation and getting the rear bulkheads ready for painting. As next week rolls around, I plan to hang the wings on Wednesday, so that we can do some symmetry checks on the tail cone before we start riveting.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Refreshment

At the end of July, we took a week off of the normal schedule to attend an annual event called "Field Forum".  The forum is a five day gathering of the US missionary team that serves in Gabon.  The purpose is for team building and vision casting... and fun!  A team from Allegheny Community Alliance Church (Pittsburgh) came to serve us through challenging messages, some excellent music to focus our worship of Jesus, direct activities for our children, and to simply encourage and hang out with us.

Here's the crew!








We're a crazy crew... living on the equator has taken it's toll.
SEE ALL THE PHOTOS:  CLICK HERE

Aircraft Update... GREAT NEWS!!!

Here are a series of recent updates regarding the aircraft (sorry, no pictures this time!).  I'll start with some great news regarding the completion date of repairs! (all notes are from Dale, lead mechanic at MMS Aviation)

28 July: 

We are waiting on some parts at the moment, as I found more wrong with the tailcone than I could see.  We have disassembled the tailcone and are starting on that while I wait for a rear carry through spar (again) we found that the one that we had was made incorrectly be Cessna. News on the HF radio is that we should get the approval in a week or so.  That means that I will have to stat buying some parts.  The power supply that is with the HF is not the correct one for our installation.  Also circuit breakers,. mounts antenna parts and a whole bunch of other things.  At this point in time, I plan to have 207FD completed at the end of September. 

01 August:
I was inspecting under the panel and in the circuit breaker panel, and found some wiring upgrades needed.  I also found some circuit breakers missing their amp rating on the face of the breaker.  I have taken care of a lot of the wiring, and a few more things should work now (fan, standby vacuum, taxi light to mention a few).  I wanted to know if I could clean up the breaker panel and install a few new circuit breakers (the pull type).  Also group things a little better than they are now.  The avionics bus is split into about 4 separate buses.  things are also not really labeled as they really are, so I would like to adjust the placards to reflect what the circuit breaker is really connected to.

03 August:
The ELT is not registered to your aircraft and will need to be sent away for reprogramming and registration will have to be done after that., reprogramming can only be done by the manufacturer.  cost of $450.  Do I have your permission to do this.  It was still registered to N9950M.

04 August:
Hi Steve. Today, I powered up the engine analizer and downloaded the data from your last 18 flights in Febuary and March of 2010, and the 2 times after that that you ran the engine on august 17th for the engine preservation.  Very good data, but unfurtunatly there is no fuel flow data, onlt CHT's and EGT's, battery voltage and oil temps. The tailcone is almost all put together with clecos.  We are repairing the section of the tailcone where the tie down bolt was, as there was previous damage, maybe some from your accident too.  So a new skin is going on there, a bulkhead repair and the new tiedown from MAF. Work continues. Dale

05 August:
My team is hard at work.  Josh is doing some final painting of the tail cone pieces, and getting the fuselage ready for painting.  Chuck is installing the spar carry through along with Phil.  Once that is in they will rivet the roof skins back on.  Andy is finishing up on the tail skid installation and getting the rear bulkheads ready for painting. As next week rolls around, I plan to hang the wings on Wednesday, so that we can do some symmetry checks on the tail cone before we start riveting.

Satisfied Passenger! (Guest Blog)


Recently, I had the privilege of a visit from some Air Calvary supporters.  Steve H. (Bedford Community Church attender- NY) and Ralph A. (AC board member).  I was happy to have access to a back up aircraft to show them them the impact that the aviation program was having here in Gabon.  They were able to get a first hand experience both the 9 hour drive to Bongolo and then, for their return to the city of Libreville, the hour and forty-five minute flight using our aviation service.  Here are Steve's thoughts of his trip (Steve is pictured here, on the right):

One of the main reasons I personally went to Gabon was to meet the pilot for Air Calvary there and his family and see what support we could provide to them in the future. What a truly humbling experience it was to spend time with these extraordinary people who have moved from a very comfortable life in the USA to serve the people of Gabon and further the missionary work of Bongolo hospital. While they certainly enjoy many enriching experiences and relationships make no mistake there are significant sacrifices that they have made  to get this mission (if you will excuse my pun) ‘off the ground’. I thank Steve, Alace, Joe, Megan and Sam for their warm hospitality and amazing christian spirit.
 
 The Air Calvary service flies people from Libreville to an airstrip near the Bongolo hospital, a distance of some 300 plus miles. In Gabon this journey in a car or truck can take up to 10 hours depending on road conditions and the always interesting Police checkpoints. The road varies from quite good in sections to absolutely appalling in others, pot holes that look like they could double as swimming holes in the rainy season, choking dust that somehow manages to find it’s way into almost any car. Now imagine you’re in serious pain, have very limited time, need to transport sensitive medical equipment or any other of probably numerous other needs, the aircraft becomes an extremely valuable tool.
 
In stark contrast the flight takes 1 hour and 45 minutes over spectacular forests and rivers. During our stay in Gabon we were able to experience both; I recommend the plane.
 
Air Calvary has a couple of specific projects that they need help with which I will be speaking to BCC about when we return. In addition prayer and financial support will always be needed.
 I found my time with them to be inspiring, thanks to Brock for his vision and assistance.
 
-Steve Hughes

Monday, August 1, 2011