By Ysabel Nehring | July 5, 2022

USU Aviation Students Demonstrate their Skills at Aerospace Maintenance Competition

By Ysabel Nehring | July 5, 2022

Aviation Maintenance Team

(Logan, UT) - A team of five USU students, Braden Kunzler, Ryan Ritchie, Josh Carling, Frank Mattiaccio, and Trace Hadley, attended and competed in the 2022 Aerospace Maintenance Competition in Dallas, Texas. The students from USU’s aviation maintenance program, took second place in the electrical wiring and antenna troubleshooting events.

Students explore Dreamliner cockpit

The competition, sponsored by the Aerospace Maintenance Council and a number of industry partners, is held annually in conjunction with Aviation Week’s MRO Americas show and conference – “MRO” in aviation meaning maintenance, repair, and overhaul. The competition offers opportunities for maintenance professionals and students to network and showcase important skills.

According to the competition's website, the purpose is to “recognize and celebrate the aviation maintenance technician and raise awareness of the knowledge and skill required to maintain safe, airworthy aircraft, worldwide.”

USU’s Ritchie was honored with the Charles E. Taylor Professional AMT Award. The award is named after the Wright Brothers’ first aircraft mechanic and recognizes students for professionalism. Judges selected Ritchie as a recipient from among participants in the 26 competition events.

Mattiaccio and Carling won drawings for gift cards and tools from Snap-on Tools, an event sponsor. The students also toured the American Airlines Hangar where they climbed into the cockpits of a Boeing 777 and 787 Dreamliner, viewed the opened-up engines, and explored hidden passages in the gigantic aircraft.

Joshua Carling explores an opened-up engine

“It was the coolest experience I have had since starting my education at USU,” Hadley said.

The students were coached and accompanied by Chris Bracken, USU professional practice aviation instructor.

“The students gained invaluable experience and made contacts with multiple employers,” said Bracken. “Ryan was able to do an interview with American Airlines on the spot.”

Students practice electrical wiring

USU’s Aviation program offers a bachelor’s degree in aviation maintenance for students interested in entering a vitally important part of the aviation industry on the ground. The degree prepares students for entry-level positions with airframe and powerplant licenses. Students complete coursework in aerospace maintenance, communications, and business. They also participate in competitions and meet airline representatives which often leads to internship and employment opportunities.

To learn more about the aviation degrees offered at USU, visit the USU Aviation website.


Chris Bracken

Ysabel Nehring