Aviation Business News

Celebration in competition

The importance of knowledge on the job is perhaps best demonstrated by the teams competing in the school division
photo_camera The importance of knowledge on the job is perhaps best demonstrated by the teams competing in the school division

Technicians are set to demonstrate knowledge, skill and integrity at the Aerospace Maintenance Competition, presented by Snap-on. By Katie Robertson.

Many of the world’s most skilled aircraft technicians are ready to shine in the Aerospace Maintenance Competition (AMC), presented by Snap-on. The event coincides with the MRO Americas convention, taking place between 17 and 20 April in Atlanta, US.

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The AMC is the brainchild of former National Transportation Safety Board member John Goglia, and Ken MacTiernan, a San Diego-based technician for American Airlines. Under their leadership, the competition has flourished.

The AMC is a global spectacle that annually attracts more than 80 professional, military, and collegiate maintenance teams from around the world to come together in friendly competition, test their skills against each other, and give a loud shout-out of their presence in the industry.

Events include a wide range of skills that technicians face every day on the job, including safety wiring, composite repair, electrical troubleshooting, turbine engine and others. Each event has a 15-minute time limit; the action is exciting, fast-paced and great drama for fans to watch.

The competition is presented by Snap-on (www.snapon.com/Aviation), which supplies the tools used during the events and presents prizes for winning teams. The top prize, The William F ‘Bill’ O’Brien Award for Excellence in Aircraft Maintenance, is presented to the team with the best overall winning score. That team receives the five-foot-tall trophy to display in their facility that year. In addition to the trophy, Snap-on is awarding tools and equipment as prizes to the top finishers.

What has made the AMC such a success over the years is its partnership with Snap-on, which shares the founders’ reverent view of technicians. Snap-on is a strong believer in the dignity of aircraft technician work and that of professionals in all skilled trades.

“What the AMC stands for is something we deeply believe in, and that’s celebrating the critical nature of these jobs,” says Bill Willetts, vice president of Snap-on Industrial and AMC board member. “Through our partnerships with technical education institutions, we play an active role in promoting aviation careers and all skilled trades. This partnership with the AMC has moved the industry forward, and we will do our part to continue making it a success.”

Teams must show the highest level of integrity to represent their programmes
Teams must show the highest level of integrity to represent their programmes

Building knowledge

One of the tenets of the AMC is the incredible knowledge required to maintain an aircraft. The importance of knowledge on the job is perhaps best demonstrated by the teams competing in the school division.

The AMC provides a venue for students to build their knowledge through the hands-on events, some of which they may not see in a classroom, but they are also able to expand their knowledge of the industry.

Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, US, has sent a team to the AMC for the past few years. Coaches Matt Youngs and Jake Harvey work to develop a strong knowledge base in the next generation of technicians, both in and out of the classroom.

“Some students come in pigeon-holed in what they want to do in their career. Maybe that’s all they’ve been exposed to,” says Youngs. “They get to the AMC and they can see the whole spectrum of the industry under one roof.”

Harvey adds: “There are thousands of vendors there who are willing to talk to anybody. Any area of the industry that you want to be plugged into has a representative there for you. It’s a great networking opportunity for the team.”

Demonstrating skill

Networking and knowledge-building play a huge role in what keeps teams coming back, but the competition and its ability to highlight skills are also important attributes of the AMC. The competitive edge, while friendly, is definitely sharp in teams like the group from Delta Airlines, who have their eyes squarely on the prize.

“We want to win,” says team member Peter Adzema. “The competition is at our home base, so we’re hoping to have a lot of support from Delta to give us the winning edge.”

Industry of integrity

Ensuring that an airplane is properly maintained requires the highest level of integrity. Teams understand the responsibility to represent the industry and their programmes with members who exemplify this value. Harvey says that the decision for who is taken to represent Liberty depends almost equally on technical ability and character.

“We set up four events for them to simulate what we’re looking for: their character, mechanical skill and how thoughtful they are in addressing each issue. From there, we convert those things into a time score to determine where they rank,” he said. “Those who make it are ready to shine in Atlanta.”

Admission to the Aerospace Maintenance Competition, presented by Snap-on, is free with your MRO Americas convention credentials. If you’re at the show, be sure to stop by and cheer on the contending men and women working to keep air travel safe and secure.

This feature was first published in MRO Management – April 2023. To read the magazine in full, click here.

Katie Robertson
Katie Robertson covers aviation as an account executive for LePoidevin Marketing. For more information on the AMC, visit aerospacecompetition.com

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