Mechanics will be in attendance travel from all over the world. Although they don different uniforms and speak diverse languages, they all share one thing in common – a passion for aviation maintenance. And there’s no better place to witness the fervor they have for their craft than at the Aerospace Maintenance Competition Presented by Snap-on.
Returning for its sixth year at the MRO Americas convention, April 8-11, at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, the AMC has been described as the Super Bowl of the aviation maintenance industry.
The AMC provides a venue for professional mechanics to come together in friendly competition, test their skills against each other and develop a strong sense of camaraderie over two days of friendly competition. In addition to the pros, the AMC’s School Category serves as a great mentoring opportunity for aspiring technicians to see how they measure up, while learning from the best.
This year, a record 90 teams from around the world are expected to grab their Snap-on tools and show off their knowledge, skill and integrity by competing in 31 challenges. Teams compete to see who’s best in six divisions: Commercial Aviation, General Aviation, Space, School, Military and MRO/OEM. Each event has a 15-minute time limit; the action is exciting, fast-paced and great drama for spectators to watch.
Admission to the AMC is free with your MRO Americas convention credentials.
So, if you’re in Atlanta next month, check out the AMC, and keep an eye on these teams looking to make an impact.
HAECO Airframe Services
HAECO Airframe Services regularly fields a team to compete in the AMC, as the company uses it as an incentive for the good work its technicians perform throughout the year.
“We use the AMC as a rewards program for our folks,” said Tirso Guerrero, project manager, HAECO Airframe Services. “It’s a nice trip and some valuable exposure to the industry. And, they get to compete against other teams and see where they stack up. It’s pretty cool.”
Every year Tirso and his team evaluate more than 400+ employees for one of the team’s coveted five slots, so the competition is tough.
“Since we began fielding a team to the AMC, we have technicians every day working hard to get better in hopes of making the squad,” Guerrero said. “It really motivates our techs to be better, and that’s a plus for everyone.
“I personally love the AMC, what it brings to the table and what it provides for the technicians. I love that it happens at the tradeshow where everyone can see it. That exposure to our field and profession is an awesome thing.”
Western Michigan University
Western Michigan University (WMU) is no stranger to aviation. Its maintenance technology program dates all the way back to 1939…and 80 years later the school is making its first appearance in the AMC.
Gail Rouscher, assistant professor, College of Aviation, WMU, said the reasons the school is fielding a team this year are to give their students a chance to showcase their skills, and network with industry professionals.
“The networking is actually probably the best benefit of our students attending the AMC,” she said. “Getting to know people in the industry and making those connections will go a long way.”
First and foremost, being successful in the AMC requires teamwork, which is something that’s instilled in WMU students early in their college careers.
“What I hope our team takes away from their AMC experience is accountability for themselves and working together as a team,” said Nathan Lisak, faculty specialist at WMU. “Since this is our first time competing at AMC, we’re going to have those growing pains, which is why working together as a team is so important.”
“We have a very high caliber program, and we definitely go beyond the skills required for Part 147,” Rouscher added. “So, we’re excited for our students to show the industry their skills. It’s going to be fun.”
Duplicating past AMC success is never easy, but Team Boeing has a simple strategy to find its way back to the podium.
“Practice, practice and more practice,” said Tom Buus, captain of Team Boeing. “You have to know what’s going on with the task at hand, as well as planning your next steps – and you do that with practice.”
This strategy may very well be the difference in Team Boeing winning its second title since capturing the William F. O’Brien Award for Excellence in Aircraft Maintenance Presented by Snap-on, in 2014. The O’Brien Award is the grand prize for the team with the overall winning score in the Aerospace Maintenance Competition.
Since January, Team Boeing has been meeting once a week to strategize and practice anticipated events.
“Every year we continually try to improve our game,” Buus said. “We really enjoy competing against some of the top maintenance teams from around the world. The camaraderie that the AMC provides is really great for all teams involved.”
Australian Licensed Aircraft Engineers Association
If you’re looking for some peace and quiet at the AMC, don’t camp next to the Aussies!
Known for their customary “Aussie Aussie Aussie, Oi Oi Oi” cheer at least once a day during the competition, Team Australian Licensed Aircraft Engineers Association (ALAEA), is making its ninth straight appearance in the AMC.
“We’re licensed aircraft maintenance engineers, which is called LAME’s around here, so we call it the LAME Olympics,” said
Mike Davies, ALAEA team manager. “The AMC is the Olympics for our trade.”
More than 3,000 members make up the ALAEA, the trade union that comprises aircraft engineers throughout Australia, and that makes competition for the team’s five spots fierce. Davies added that the experience of competing alongside professionals from other countries is invaluable.
“Just the experience of competing overseas, using our skills and abilities, is fantastic,” he said. “I told our group, ‘I don’t care if they’re not the fastest, just do the job properly.’ That’s what’s most important to me.”
Networking, meeting other technicians and making friends is a big part of the AMC, and that’s something the Aussies look forward to every year.
“Bring it on Americans!” Davies said. “We’re coming over again and looking forward to having a beer with the guys we’ve met before and with new friends we make. We really enjoy the AMC; it’s a life-changing experience.”
Steve Staedler is a senior account executive at LePoidevin Marketing, a Brookfield, Wisconsin-based business-to-business marketing firm that specializes in the tooling and aerospace industries. Steve has been covering aeronautical maintenance for more than 10 years; is a former newspaper reporter and retired master sergeant from the U.S. Air Force Reserve, where he worked maintenance and public affairs.