If you are new to MRO Americas, you may not have heard about the Aerospace Maintenance Competition. The competition is often referred to as the Super Bowl of aviation maintenance. The Aerospace Maintenance Competition is a public demonstration of the skills and expertise of aviation maintenance technicians. Snap-on is the event presenter and official tool sponsor. The event begins on 25 April, and takes place over 11 hours.
Aerospace Maintenance Competition teams come from airlines, MROs, OEMs, aviation schools, the military, and space travel companies. Entrants must either be certified by an aviation authority, working for a certified repair or manufacturing organization, part of the armed forces, or enrolled in a certified aviation maintenance school. Teams consist of 5 members. Each team competes in one of six categories:
- Commercial aviation
- General aviation
- Repair & Manufacturing
Many of the team members enter the competition to build professional experience, test skills, and get exposure to new technologies. Entrants from the military are interested to see what techniques are used on the civilian side. Students benefit from seeing how seasoned professionals approach technical problems. Competitors explain that they are glad to have the opportunity to meet other AMTs that they wouldn’t have crossed paths with otherwise.
The competition takes place April 25 – 26. Teams are given 25 different challenges. Teams receive 15 minutes to complete each challenge. Scoring is based on completion time, the quickest team wins. Completion times are summed to determine the overall winners. The three teams with the lowest score (quickest elapsed time) in each category receive prizes.
Challenges change frequently to reflect industry trends, updated best practices, and emerging technology. The 2017 competition will have challenges that deal with space aircraft and Virtual Reality (VR). Necessary tools and equipment is provided to the teams. Some challenges, such as the Turbine Engine, require team members to install equipment to meet certain criteria. Other challenges are knowledge based, requiring excellent recall skills to diagnose problems or use best practices.
Video: 2016 Aerospace Maintenance Competition
Competition winners are announced the last day of the show at 9 AM. Team winners are chosen for each category. The William F. “Bill” O’Brien Award is bestowed to the team with the best overall score. A traveling, five foot tall trophy is given to the winning team to take home for the year. Snap-on also donates $75,000 worth of tools to the winning team. The Charles E. Taylor Award, in honor of the first aviation mechanic in powered flight, is awarded to the top scoring aviation maintenance technician and student. Every team member is eligible to compete for the Charles E. Taylor Award.
The Aerospace Maintenance Competition is trying to raise awareness for the craft of aircraft and spacecraft maintenance. It isn’t possible to put enough emphasis on what these individuals do to keep aviation safe. The competition is inclusive, one group isn’t promoted over another. This is truly a unique event that brings together some of the best AMTs.
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