Monthly Archives: March 2012

Moving Forward…

Cut a hole in a fuel tank, make a patch, cover it with sealant, rivet it on!!!

There is more to aviation maintenance than meets the eye. Airplanes are made of so many different materials and each manufacturer has their own idea of how things should work. There are airplanes that use a bungee system to absorb landing shocks while others use hydraulics. Some airplanes use physical cables to connect the flight controls to the yoke/rudder pedals while others use electrical connections or “fly-by-wire.”

One of these many differences is the fuel tanks on an aircraft. Some aircrafts use rubber or synthetic rubber bladders to hold the fuel in the wings. This adds weight to the aircraft (which is never desirable because it lowers the amount of stuff that an airplane can carry, such as passengers or cargo). The bladders also wear out or can rot. In order to reduce weight and get rid of the need to replace a rubber bladder, some manufacturers use an integral fuel tank that is part of the wing. The only trick is to make sure that there aren’t any stray electrical wires that run through the tank and that all of the seams are sealed so they don’t leak any fuel.

I had the opportunity to create a hole in an integral fuel tank and then create a patch to fix the hole. It was a project that I enjoyed immensely. I really like sheet metal work. I consulted the Cessna Service Manual (which is always the first place that a mechanic should look because it usually spells out exactly what must be done) and it told me to make a sandwich type patch with a circle to fill the hole. The two outer parts are riveted to the aircraft skin and the circle floats in the hole. The trick with this repair is that the patch must be covered with PRC, an epoxy sealant that can make a big mess in a hurry. It looks like the black space goo from Spiderman!

I was fortunate to watch one of my friends make a few mistakes with his patch and it enabled me to make mine with a lot less mess. I mixed the PRC resin with a catalyst, spread it on my inside patch, used wire to position it in the correct spot with the holes lined up (my friend didn’t do this and he couldn’t line the holes up once he put the PRC on his patch), placed my circle patch in the hole, covered the PRC on the bottom of the top patch, laid it down, and riveted the patches to the skin before the PRC dried. Voila!!!

A gift from God!

Last Thursday, God gave us a little gift to remind us that He is with us. We were coming home from our doctor’s appointment and we were a little nervous about the birth of Jeremiah. We want to try to have a natural birth with Jeremiah but our doctor shared some discouraging news. As we were talking about this on the car ride home we saw this beautiful rainbow as we exited the freeway. It was the perfect reminder to us that God is in control and that He is with us. No matter what happens with the birth of Jeremiah, God is with us. Hallelujah!!!

So, we are preparing to welcome baby Jeremiah with loving arms this Thursday, March 29th…unless he comes sooner! Please pray with us for God’s will to be done. We are going to try for a natural birth and simply trust in God with whatever happens. My little sister Lynnae is with us to help take care of Adelina, which is a huge blessing! (Thanks Mimi and Pops for sending her out!) We are extremely excited and can’t wait to meet our little guy! Thank you for joining with us in prayer and sharing in our joy!


Welcome Spring…

First BBQ of the season!!!

I don’t know how the weather is wherever you may be, but the weather in Michigan is lovely! It has been over 50 degrees for a week and in the 70’s the past three days! The grass is getting green, my daughter is wearing dresses, and our air-conditioner is getting plenty of use!!!

Along with the beautiful weather we are doing well as a family. We have moved Adelina’s bedtime back which allows us to spend more time as a family in the evening. We go to the park as well as swim at the YMCA. Adelina loves to swing on the swings all by herself and she has started to go down slides as well! She is amazing!!!

Such a Sweet Smile

On another note, we have learned that Jessica has a new complication with her pregnancy called Cholestasis. It is a condition where the production of hormones in the body causes elevated levels of bile acids which are potentially harmful to the baby. This means that we are going to have Jeremiah sooner rather than later. The recommendation is to either induce or schedule a c-section between 37 & 38 weeks. Please join us in prayer because this is a serious condition and we want Jeremiah to be developed enough to breathe on his own, but not wait too long and end up causing any harm. Pray that his liver will not be negatively affected by the excess bile acids in Jessica’s blood stream and that his lungs will be fully developed by 37 weeks (this Thursday).

And, if any of you are interested in seeing how my alternator project turned out, click here…

All Painted and Purty

The Project Is Winning…

Alternator: 3 Phil: 0

Have you ever worked on a project, particularly an inanimate object, that got the better of you? Yeah, me too! In fact, I am working on a project at this very moment and it is beating me at every turn. It started last Friday when our class was told to disassemble a junkyard alternator, clean it up, check the wiring to see if it was salvageable, and then put it back together.

So, I go out and select an alternator and set to work. In the back of my mind I remembered the instructor saying something about using a heat gun to remove stuck bolts, but the first three bolts came off easy enough. The four screws holding on the voltage regulator seemed harmless enough and the first one came off clean. It was so easy! It wasn’t until after the third screw that someone came over and said, “Oh, those heads keep breaking off, huh?” “WHAT?!?!” I thought that the screws WERE just a head and two threads! Bummer!!! I had to drill out the rest of the screws and then move on!

I spent the next hour trying to pry the case apart with no luck. I was able to remove the nut holding on the belt wheel but that was about it. It didn’t help that I saw some of the other students walking around with their alternators completely apart and asking how to test the diodes!!!

Today I set about to crack my alternator open like fresh pistachio!!! I remembered my instructors telling me that the old adage, “Get a bigger hammer,” is not a useful aviation mechanic phrase. So, I found the pneumatic press, after an hour and a half of failed prying, and quickly found out that pressurized air can do even more damage than a hammer!!! (The alternator above is supposed to be a complete circle!)

An alternator works by spinning an electromagnet inside wires tightly looped around it. As the magnetic lines of flux pass through the wires they induce a voltage (create electricity). The voltage alternates directions (hence the term alternator) because a magnet has two opposite poles. In order to correct this problem and make it so that all of the voltage is sent out in one direction, an alternator uses diodes (which only allows current to flow in one direction).

I was finally able to remove the stationary looped wires and the set of diodes, but the rotor (the spinning electromagnet) is still firmly attached the case with several years of rust! I used a heat gun, WD-40, a hammer, a propane torch, PB Blaster (a lubricant), and finally an acetylene welding torch! I don’t know if it will ever come out, but there is always tomorrow!!!

She loves to Slide!!!

On the lighter side, we had a wonderful weekend! The weather was great, we had a great time as a family, and my instrument flight student passed his check-ride! 32 more days (or less) until we meet Jeremiah face to face! Thank you for your prayers and all of your love!

Beautiful Mommy!

Stay Near The Door…

Playing Dress-Up...So Beautiful

Thank you so much for all of your prayers for our family. We are all back to 100% and healthy as can be. 39 days (or less) until we welcome baby Jeremiah into our arms. We are chugging along full steam and awaiting the spring thaw! The days are already getting longer!!! For a cute video of Lina, click here!!!


We heard a great message at church this weekend and knew that we needed to share it. The Holy Spirit encouraged, challenged, and convicted us all the way through. Part of the reason that it impacted us as much as it did is because it resonates with the message and heartbeat of our home church in Sparks, NV. The mission statement of Summit, as many of you know, is Love God, Love People, Serve Others. There is also an underlying pulse to encourage every Christian to be intentional with the relationships that they have with others. Whether it be at the workplace, the neighbor next door, the cashier at the grocery store, or the parents of your child’s friend. We make the most of every opportunity and do our best to share the light of the Gospel and the love of Christ with others.

The message this weekend centered around Matthew 9:9-13. Jesus calls Matthew, a tax collector, to follow him. Matthew gets up and follows Jesus immediately. Then, Jesus goes to eat at Matthew’s house and there are a number of “sinners” who are eating with Jesus. The Pharisees are outraged that Jesus would eat and associate with all of these “sinners.” In verses 12 and 13, Jesus replies, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor – sick people do…For I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.”

It is easy for me, once I have tasted the goodness of God’s grace, to forget what it was like to not know Christ; to not know that my sins are forgiven. I forget that I am a sinner and I am no better than anyone else. I often get so comfortable with my “found-ness” that I also forget about those who are lost; those who are missing from the body of Christ. It is challenging to think about reaching out to others and making an effort to build relationships with people who do not know or fully grasp the good news about Christ. Moving to Michigan in order to pursue a career as missionaries does not exempt us from reaching out to our neighbors. Moving overseas does not exempt us from pouring our lives into others and sharing Christ with them.

One of the most profound aspects of the message was a poem by the Reverend Canon Samuel Moor Shoemaker, Jr. The poem is called “So I Stay Near The Door.” The premise is that the author has made a conscious effort to stay near the entrance to salvation in order to help those on the outside find the door; find Christ. It would be possible for him to venture further in and explore all the deep things of God and theology, and there is nothing wrong with this, but the author would rather focus his efforts on helping those outside find their way in. We too wish to stay near the door…


By the Reverend Canon Samuel Moor Shoemaker, Jr.

I stay near the door.
I neither go too far in, nor stay too far out,
The door is the most important door in the world–
It is the door through which men walk when they find God.
There’s no use my going way inside, and staying there,
When so many are still outside, and they, as much as I,
Crave to know where the door is.
And all that so many ever find
Is only the wall where a door ought to be.
They creep along the wall like blind men,
With outstretched, groping hands,
Feeling for a door, knowing there must be a door,
Yet they never find it – – –
So I stay near the door.
The most tremendous thing in the world
Is for men to find that door–the door to God.
The most important thing any man can do
Is to take hold of one of those blind, groping hands,
And put it on the latch–the latch that only clicks
And opens to the man’s own touch.
Men die outside that door, as starving beggars die
On cold nights in cruel cities in the dead of winter–
Die for want of what is within their grasp.
They live, on the other side of it–because they have found it.
Nothing else matters compared to helping them find it,
And open it, and walk in, and find Him – – –
So I stay near the door.
Go in, great saints, go all the way in–
Go way down into the cavernous cellars,
And way up into the spacious attics–
It is a vast, roomy house, this house where God is.
Go into the deepest of hidden casements,
Of withdrawal, of silence, or sainthood.
Some must inhabit those inner rooms,
And know the depths and heights of God,
And call outside to the rest of us how wonderful it is.
Sometimes I take a deeper look in,
Sometimes venture a little farther;
But my place seems closer to the opening – – –
So I stay near the door.
There is another reason why I stay there.
Some people get part way in and become afraid
Lest God and the zeal of His house devour them;
For God is so very great, and asks all of us.
And these people feel a cosmic claustrophobia.
And want to get out. Let me out! they cry.
And the people way inside only terrify them more.
Somebody must be by the door to tell them that they are spoiled
For the old life, they have seen too much;
Once taste God, and nothing but God will do any more.
Somebody must be watching for the frightened
Who seek to sneak out just where they came in,
To tell them how much better it is inside.
The people too far in do not see how near these are
To leaving–preoccupied with the wonder of it all.
Somebody must watch for those who have entered the door,
But would like to run away. So for them too,
I stay near the door.
I admire the people who go way in.
But I wish they would not forget how it was
Before they got in. Then they would be able to help
The people who have not yet even found the door,
Or the people who want to run away again from God.
You can go in too deeply, and stay too long,
And forget the people outside the door.
As for me, I shall take my old accustomed place,
Near enough to God to hear Him, and know He is there,
But not so far from men as not to hear them,
And remember they are there, too.
Where? Outside the door–
Thousands of them, millions of them.
But–more important for me–
One of them, two of them, ten of them,
Whose hands I am intended to put on the latch.
For those I shall stay by the door and wait
For those who seek it.
I had rather be a door-keeper . . .
So I stay near the door