I had hopes of more snow and ski flying but I guess it is time to admit that winter is over. This means I can get starting working on the hangar again!
As with everything else in life, airplanes need to be repaired and maintained. This is the time of year when I go through both airplanes and fix the small things that broke during the summer, like instrument backlights and a small tear in the headliner. There were several things that had to be fixed when they broke so that I could continue flying, like fuel pumps and steering rods. While the hangar is not complete it still has been asset to maintaining the airplanes. Have you seen the pictures of the great progress? I have benefited from the concrete slab and this coming week I will use the overhead crane beam to take the floats off the Maule and go back to wheels.
Speaking of the Maule, it goes to MARC November 1st for the annual inspection. This year it is going to be a big one. We have to comply with an Airworthiness Directive (AD) that requires that the engine crankshaft be replaced. Apparently there were quality control issues during the forging process and there is a very remote possibility that it may fail in flight without warning. If that were to happen the propellor would most likely depart the aircraft. There is nothing good about that scenario. While an AD is kind of like a recall on your car it differs greatly in that the owner is responsible for the cost not the manufacturer. Thankfully we have found a serviceable crankshaft (read used but still within specs) which will cost much less than the $16,000 list price for a new one. The labor cost for the tear down and replacement will be reduced greatly because there is a team coming from Moody’s aviation training program that will use this as part of their curriculum. As a LeTourneau grad part of me twitches to think that Moody students will be rebuilding my engine. Sorry, couldn’t resit the urge to poke at our longtime rivals…
Other known issues we plan to take care of at this annual is to repair the auto pilot servo. It has been flaky for a while and has a tendency to only do standard rate left hand turns. We will also upgrade the Emergency Locator Transmitter (ELT) to the newest standard and technology (406 mHZ with internal GPS).
Airplanes are not cheap but they are a very effective tool for ministry here in Alaska. Last week I was able to help another mission agency get some of their people out to visit and encourage some of their staff in a remote village. We are currently coordinating with a church in Fairbanks to get out to a village they have worked in for many years that suffered a horrible tragedy of a double homicide. Once the Maule is back from the annual we will put it on skis and get out to our friends who live in the bush. All of this is possible because of your partnership and God’s provision! If you are interested in ways to help visit our On Going Projects page.
It was a very productive summer, wettest on record but it is amazing to see what was accomplished. It has been such a busy summer that we haven’t been updating you as much as we liked. Hopefully you have been watching the progress in pictures on the TMM Hangar page. We have also been updating things regularly on our Facebook page. We are “friends” right?
Now that there is 6″ of snow on the ground and things are done for the construction season, look for more updates coming of how the summer went and what the winter holds.
Thank you for your prayers and support. We serve an incredible God!
That expression means several different things right now depending where you put the exclamation point. We are grateful that winter is loosening it’s grip on Alaska, the rivers have broke up smoothly this year. Although it was a mild winter it is nice to see the sun and feel the warmth that it brings. The expression is also said in a slightly panicked tone too because summer is coming! Ahh! Spring or Ahh Spring! have completely different meanings.
Recently I was able to help a church in Fairbanks go visit three sister churches in western Alaska. It was a great week. Two of the villages are desperately wanting more access to church services. One village hasn’t had an active church in over 15 years and the other is still reeling from a bad split but it seems everyone is wanting reconciliation. It is so neat to be able to help the body of Christ with logistics and other needs.
I (Adam) rolled into Nenana 19 years ago this May and every season someone says “this weather is not normal.” At some point the abnormal weather must become the “new normal.” What this meant for this year was that we were unable to fly out and have our traditional Easter weekend with friends living in “the bush.” The weather had been too warm and the ice conditions too risky for flying Easter weekend. Thankfully I was able to get out the days and weeks before and spend some time with folks individually.
The Hangar Project is officially underway! This is where the slightly panicked tone of “Ahh, Spring!” comes in. It is hard not to panic when you look at the calendar and see how short of a building season we have. I am still working with the State Fire Marshal on building safety concerns. The current plan is to build a completely detached “boiler house” to keep the sources of ignition out of the hangar. This change has simplified a lot of the issues raised but has added complexity and cost to the project. On a more positive note, we were able to find a great source of “repurposed” foam board for the foundation that is saving several thousands of dollars. That savings will more than likely be absorbed in the concrete cost. I had hoped to work with contractors that are on a local bridge project to get a good deal but they ran into a few snags. As a result we will need to pay a fuel surcharge to have it brought down from Fairbanks.
We are looking forward to seeing some old college friends this summer as they come up to help for a week. Others have expressed and interest in coming up to help but so far haven’t committed. There have been several folks here in Alaska that have offered to help, keep an eye on our Facebook page for details of when I could use you.
I will try to keep the pictures coming and keep an eye on the Hangar Page for the progress.