As noted before, all forecast a near term shortage of mechanics and the same person, John Goglia (formerly a NTSB Member, a mechanics union leader and skilled A&P) has done more than write. To borrow an oft used aviation phrase, he has done the Right Stuff. Member Goglia as president of the Aerospace Maintenance Council hosts the Aerospace Maintenance Competition. It’s the Super Bowl of Aviation Maintenance Technicians!
It’s a world class event, sponsored by Snap-on Tools, held at the MRO Americas 2016 Convention, April 5 to 7, at the Kay Bailey Hutchinson Convention Center in Dallas. This competition pits the best of the best in skills tests. All of the challenges involve the highly technical knowledge of the equipment to be repaired or maintained, the right steps to fix it, the required inspections to assure safety, the craft needed to perform the task expertly and with precision and the mental focus and discipline to complete the work in a time-efficient manner. On top of all of those practical talents, the AMTs have to have command of the complex and detailed FARS which mandate everything from the specific technique to how the work must be documented. Here are some of the AMT challenges of the past:
Clearly one of the benefits of the AMC is the public demonstration of these professionals’ pride in their work. The AMT Super Bowl attracts attention of the press and hopefully that publicity may draw potential skilled craftsmen (and women) to the MX world.
Another interesting phenomenon of this competition is the roster of teams who will come to the hall named for Senator Hutchinson (who once chaired the Senate Aviation Subcommittee). The numbers have grown every year and the 2016 scoreboard will include 40 rosters from airlines, MROs, OEMs, colleges and Part 147 schools—
The skills are tested in 22 specific problems which involve their individual skills, collective knowledge and teamwork. The scores are combined and the team with the highest total is awarded the prestigious William F. “Bill” O’Brien Award for Excellence in Aircraft Maintenance. The 3’ tall symbol of excellence and $75,000 of Snap-on’s best tools travel to the home of the team, plus some bragging rights (probably the highest value item for the AMTs).
As John Goglia so knowledgeably put it:
“These talented men and women often don’t get the credit they deserve, but they’re out there when it’s cold and snowing, using their skills to get passengers where they need to be. This event epitomizes just how technical this industry is, and the Aerospace Maintenance Council is proud to showcase the best of what the aviation maintenance profession has to offer.”
In addition to reinforcing pride in the profession and its demanding standards, this event serves as a form of public education. At the end of every Super Bowl, many kids commit to becoming an athlete. Hopefully, the AMC’s publicity causes a young person to select this important, challenging, rewarding and exacting job (since the event is held indoors, as John noted, these prospective AMTs will not think of the days of snow and rain).
Thanks to Snap-on, the other sponsors, the AMC, the participants/their schools & employers and John for making such a worthwhile exposure of what these aviation safety professionals do.