On February 22nd through the 25th I was privileged to attend the AMT Society's 4th Annual Maintenance Skills Competition in Las Vegas, Nevada. There were 26 teams representing four countries and a total of 130 professional craftsmen. Teams were divided into five separate categories: Commercial Aviation, General Aviation, Schools, MRO/OEM, and Military.
Each team competed in 12 events ranging from safety wiring to electrical/avionic troubleshooting to composite and engine tasks. The total time of all the events were then tabulated, minus penalty points, plus bonus points offered for extra work, to come up with the total overall time. The fastest teams in each category were then awarded for their skill and efficiency with prizes and recognition, along with the total overall fastest team receiving the William F. O'Brien Award for Excellence in Aircraft Maintenance and the right to say, “We are aviation’s best Maintenance Skills team.” This year the award was presented to Southwest Airlines for the fastest overall time.
This year’s competition had two AMFA teams competing for commercial category superiority: in its first competition, Alaska Airlines; and returning champion, Southwest Airlines. There were new entrants from Boeing, UPS, the Association of Maintenance Professionals (AMP), Hurlbert Air Force Base, and a team of AMEs that comprised Team Mexico. Returning teams were: Fed-Ex, team 1 and 2; and everybody’s favorite, Australian Licensed Aircraft Engineers Association (ALAEA) with whom AMFA is associated with through the Aircraft Engineers International (AEI), who placed second and created stiff competition. Let the partying begin mate.
While at the event we were treated with great respect and the hospitality from the sponsors’ AMT Society and Cygnus Aviation was phenomenal. The intensity was flowing as was the fun. The teams were battle driven to be their best by the reputation of the aviation mechanic being not only fast but cognizant of the lives that they hold in their hands every day, and being able to portray that dedication through a competition pitting themselves against the best mechanics the aviation industry has to offer.
What a great opportunity for AMFA to promote our Class and Craft and Union members at a premier Maintenance Skills event such as this one. We look forward to next year’s event and the opportunity to promote the Aviation Mechanic and The Union for the Aviation Mechanic, AMFA.