USU Aviation Students Take First and Second at Aerospace Competition
Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2017
Two teams of students from Utah State University’s Aviation Maintenance Management program recently took first and second place honors in the school division of the first Regional Aerospace Maintenance Competition.
USU students Jordan Kington, Hayden Monroe and Jordan Bankhead placed first out of all the school teams present and beat all but one of the military teams. Justin Frandsen, Jason Bistline and Kaden Fratto placed second in the school division.
The competition–part of the Department of Defense Maintenance Symposium, and hosted by the Society of Automotive Engineers International–consisted of six timed events. The students used safety wire to secure bolts, operated a state-of-the-art spectrometric engine oil analyzer, completed written tests about aircraft hydraulic systems, used computers to troubleshoot aircraft airspeed indicators and more, often working with military equipment they had no experience with in their training at the university.
Bankhead attributed the teams’ success to the preparation USU and their professors have given them.
“In my experience, USU by far has the best program of any school to prepare students to be aircraft technicians,” Bankhead said. “The professors provide a well-rounded and thorough education that is backed with their own real life experiences. Additionally, USU has accumulated some of the best equipment and tools for allowing the students to learn and perform their own maintenance in hands-on labs, which is priceless. All of these resources combined prepared us to prove our abilities against other schools and even against trained, military professionals.”
Team members said they enjoyed the competitive atmosphere.
“You walk right into a challenge that you've never even seen before and then the clock starts ticking,” Bankhead said. “You only have a few minutes to understand how the system you are working on operates, and then you have to fix it. Being able to successfully walk away from a challenge like that is a very rewarding and confidence-inspiring experience.”
Aerospace competitions are beneficial for students in many ways, according to Chris Bracken, an aviation maintenance professional practice instructor and the teams’ advisor.
“Experiences like this competition help students learn outside of the classroom, get them excited about their education and allow them to make contacts with leaders in the industry,” Bracken said. “They also get to use state-of-the-art equipment that the school doesn't have. They get hands-on experience with the latest and greatest technology that they may use in the profession.”
The team will compete in the 2018 Aerospace Maintenance Competition in Orlando in April, which will include 25 events, and provide more opportunities for awards, scholarships and contacts with commercial airline technicians and employers.
For more information about USU’s aviation programs, visit aste.usu.edu/aviation/.