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!!!
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!