Aviation Maintenance Students Showcase Skills with First-Place Performance
Four Clover Park Technical College Aviation Maintenance Technician students put their skills and knowledge to the test at the Northwest Aviation Conference & Trade Show on Feb. 24, coming away with a first-place victory in an AMT student competition.
The competition pitted teams from colleges against each other in a variety of skills in aviation maintenance, including flexible fluid lines, tensioning control cables, electrical troubleshooting, replacing brake linings and more. It culminated in a written test. In the end, CPTC boasted the top score among the six competing teams.
“This is a huge win for us,” CPTC AMT instructor Ben McConkie said. “I believe it exemplifies the high quality that our program demands from our students. We train our students to be the best, and that is exactly what we produce.”
Students Daniel Horney, Josh Gonzales, YuFan Qiu and Siyuan Sun comprised the CPTC team. The competition began at 9 a.m. and lasted until 4:30 p.m., with the teams spending 30 minutes at each station with a 15-minute break between each session. While the team said they got off to a rough start, they felt better about their performance as the day went on. Horney was one of only two competitors to achieve a perfect score on the written test, and he said it was a reflection of hard work and solid training in the program.
“As long as you’re putting in the effort and studying what you’re supposed to study, you’ll be just fine,” Horney said. “It was a good environment to practice these skills in a competitive setting where it might be similar to a test environment where there’s a bit of pressure and a broad spectrum of skills.”
The Northwest Aviation Conference & Trade Show is an annual event and has included a skills completion the past several years. According to the Washington Aviation Association website, the event “brings pilots, mechanics, aircraft owners and their families together for two days of seminars and presentations as well as over 400 exhibits.”
McConkie selected the four CPTC competitors following a mini-competition a couple weeks earlier in class among about a dozen students. He challenged them to fabricate hydraulic hard fluid lines in accordance with proper maintenance practices and the competition rules and then chose the top four performers to compete at the show.
Community College of Spokane took second place, while Everett Community College placed third. Some of the other competing schools included South Seattle, North Idaho and Big Bend. The competition experience helped the CPTC students value the breadth of training they’re receiving in the program.
“It made me feel more confident that some of the projects other schools had no idea how to do, while we at least had a pretty good idea how to do most of the projects,” Gonzales said.
Alaska Airlines and Boeing were among the sponsors for the event, providing the student winners with a $500 award, bragging rights and an engraved plate to reside at CPTC’s South Hill Campus for the next year. Alaska Airlines recruiters were also present and took the opportunity to keep records for potential future interviews.
For more information about CPTC’s Aviation Maintenance Technician program, click here.