Liberty University AMTs Assist MFI Mechanics

The team from Liberty University pose with Philip Karnes and Ian Hengst.

The team from Liberty University pose with Philip Karnes and Ian Hengst.

Liberty University AMTs Assist MFI Mechanics

Dustin Wing and AMT Instructor, Dave Austin, work on a custom piece for N300MF.

Dustin Wing and AMT Instructor, Dave Austin, work on a custom piece for N300MF.

January 7-11, 2019, Missionary Flights International welcomed the assistance offered by a group of students, instructors, and graduates from Liberty University’s Aviation Maintenance Technician School. They spent the week with MFI Pilot Mechanics performing routine maintenance on the DC-3 airplanes that are flown each week. The team also helped with the progression of N300MF which has been in the MFI maintenance hangar undergoing refurbishment after being flown from South Africa in 2017.

Dustin Foster, an Instructional Lab Technician for Liberty University School of Aeronautics, traveled and worked with the group during the week. Being his first time at MFI, Foster commented, “Versus other opportunities, the reason we like to come down to Missionary Flights is because they fit more with what we are doing at Liberty. Other aviation organizations focus more on the flight, but I’ve noticed that, at MFI, instead of pilots who also work as mechanics, you all have great mechanics that also work as pilots. Therefore, MFI is able to relate a little more with our guys.”

AMT Dustin Foster works on the wing

AMT Dustin Foster works on the wing

Throughout the week, the team worked under the supervision of Ian Hengst, Director of Maintenance at Missionary Flights. “The guys from Liberty helped us move forward with the installation of the gross weight kit on the left wing, they did some fabrication of some hoses and brake lines, and some small sheet metal repairs on different areas of the airplanes,” stated Hengst. “Overall, we were able to get the left wing off and make some necessary repairs which has helped to save time in those areas.” Missionary Flights continues in its progress on N300MF and has been grateful to all of those who have offered their time and skill toward the refurbishment.

Reflecting on the organization as a whole, Foster also commented, “What you guys are doing as a whole is supporting other organizations. Overall, that is more in line with what we want. We like to see the overall picture being benefitted, rather than one specific mission or organization. We like that you are supporting multiple organizations.”

When they fly into Haiti, the Dominican Republic, or the Bahamas, MFI Pilots are very aware of their mission to stand in the gap. Before each flight, a pilot prays over the missionaries and the cargo that are making their way to be of service to the Lord. In the air, passengers are engaged by pilots in conversation and it is not surprising to see a picture of someone riding in the jump seat having a conversation with them via the headset.

Stephen Backof assists Philip Karnes (on the other side of the skin) in bucking rivets.

Stephen Backof assists Philip Karnes (on the other side of the skin) in bucking rivets.

What was Foster’s favorite project during the week? “Working on the PT-6 has been the hardest, but also the most fun,” he remarked, “We had the opportunity to do a turbine nozzle change which took us about 6 hours the first day. The next day it took us about…6 hours. We were here until 7 p.m., but there was a flight the next day. It was a great way to see what these mechanics go through in order to make sure that flights are successful.”

Missionary Flights International welcomes the application of any aspiring Missionary Aviation mechanics or pilots who are in school and wish to perform an internship with our team. If you have an A&P License and wish to assist our team for a week or longer, you are also encouraged to contact our office to discuss opportunities. Furthermore, if you believe that the Lord is calling you to become a part of the Missionary Flights supported staff, please reach out so that we can begin working with you toward that step.