Aircraft Maintenance Technology

MAR 2018

The aircraft maintenance professional's source for technological advancements, maintenance alerts, news, articles, events, and careers

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MEN DON'T NORMALLY cry … but there's something about capturing the prestigious William F. "Bill" O'Brien Award for Excellence in Aircraft Maintenance, the traveling trophy that is awarded to the team with the overall winning score from the Aerospace Maintenance Competition Presented by Snap-on, that bends those rules a bit. "There were lots of man hugs and tears. We got to hug John Goglia (Aerospace Maintenance Competition President), and a couple of higher-ups at United. It was amazing; we exceeded our expectations," Jack Waldeck, an aircraft technician for United Airlines in Cleveland, recalled when he and his fellow teammates from United Airlines Team Cleveland won the prestigious award at last year's AMC. The AMC is all about exceeding expectations. The two-day competition, which returns next month (April 10-12) to the MRO Americas Convention, is the industry's premier event for aircraft technicians and engineers. It provides certified AMTs from major airlines, MROs, and OEMs, as well as military personnel and students enrolled in Part 147 curriculum, the chance to test their skills against their peers. More than 60 teams from around the world are expected to compete next month. The competition includes 29 challenges in areas such as avionics, safety wiring, fiber optics/flight control rigging, hydraulics, jet engine troubleshooting, and other maintenance tasks. Teams have 15 minutes to accurately complete each task, with those finishing the quickest earning higher scores. The overall winning team receives the honor of taking home the O'Brien Award. The 4-foot-tall trophy was on display at United Airlines' Cleveland maintenance facility for the past year. The trophy, which features a bust of Charles E. Taylor, is back up for grabs for the winning team of this year's competition. Winning is nothing new to United, as this was its third first-place finish, along with a second-place finish in previous AMC events. "Winning the Bill O'Brien Award last year was awesome," says Brian Hall, a lead technician for United Airlines. "We all believe we do a great job here in Cleveland, and bringing that award home really does showcase that Cleveland maintenance does do an excellent job. "United supporting us going down to the AMC means that they take their maintenance seriously. It is with great pride that we put out a very safe product for our customers." But the airline isn't resting on its past successes — if anything, it's ramping up its efforts. This year United is sending four teams to the AMC representing maintenance bases from Cleveland, San Francisco, Houston, and Orlando. To help those other teams prepare for the competition, the defending champions from Cleveland will be traveling to each of those cities this spring to help train their colleagues, says Russ Peterson, manager of aircraft maintenance at United Airlines in Cleveland. His team plans to take extra time to practice in preparation to defend their title. "The commitment from United has been overwhelming because we're able to go to those other cities this year to assist in their training," Peterson says. Even after winning last year's Bill O'Brien Trophy, Peterson thinks this year's AMC will be even more challenging due to the number of outstanding teams in the field. Whatever place they finish, Peterson says the espirit de corps of the AMC is something that benefits not just his technicians, but all competitors. "The takeaway from these events is phenomenal," he says. "The camaraderie between airlines, military, the A&P schools, everyone who attends is there for the same reason: to learn. The new guys will learn so much, it's invaluable. It goes without saying the AMC is the best experience they'll ever have." Just as capturing the William F. "Bill" O'Brien Award was a special moment for United Airlines Team Cleveland, winning the school category last year is a moment Terry Dunkin will remember forever. He had just watched teams from the Aviation Institute of Maintenance -Houston and Utah State University, walk on stage to receive their awards for finishing second INDIAN HILLS Community College 2017 first place school category winning team. SNAP-ON

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