In March of this year 23 teams of aircraft maintenance technicians competed against each other in the friendly competition known as the AMTSociety Maintenance Skills Competition. This international event represents general aviation, military, MRO, commercial aviation, and education sectors with teams from Australia, Canada, China, and the USA.
FedEx has been a strong supporter of the Maintenance Skills Competition with teams from Memphis and Indianapolis, as well as allowing the use of two Pratt & Whitney JT9 engines for competition tasks. In 2010 Mark Collins, an AMTSociety director and maintenance manager at FedEx LAX, approached LAX management and explained the benefits of allowing FedEx on the West Coast (LAX) to also participate. The opportunity to become a member of the 2011 team was posted requesting volunteers for the team from the Los Angeles District. Each year thereafter LAX FedEx has sent a team to the AMTSociety Maintenance Skills Competition and this year brought home the Snap-on sponsored William O’Brien Award for Excellence in Aircraft Maintenance.
Edited for length here are the stories of the individual AMTs on this year’s winning team.
Paul Germain - Team Captain
Little did I know that my dad, Hank Germain, who was already in the aviation business, would soon be shaping my world into a love of aviation. He started with a small air freight airline in Burbank, CA, called The Flying Tiger Line as an A&E (airframe and engine license as it was known then) mechanic and eventually retired as a 747 captain. Amazing from A&E to 747 captain! When I graduated from high school the decision was made! I would go to Northrop Rice Aviation Institute of Technology to get my A&P certificate. I held several jobs in general aviation but my dream was to work for an airline like my father.
One day my dad said “Flying Tigers” was hiring and I should put in an application. Sure enough they said I was hired with one catch; it was at JFK - I was 20 years old and I took it. Then a great company bought us, Federal Express, and I was soon working for one of the largest all freight airlines in the world. I’ve worked avionics in the hangar, LAX line maintenance, and currently at Bob Hope Airport, Burbank, CA. It’s been an exciting adventure working on the fleet of Boeing, Douglas, and Airbus aircraft, going on road trips to fix downed aircraft and special projects. Between Flying Tigers and FedEx it’s been 36 years — it’s been a great life!
When I was young I saw my brothers making and flying paper airplanes. From that moment on I was hooked on anything to do with airplanes. I followed my brother’s footsteps as an AMT going to school at Miramar City College in San Diego to pursue my dream to become an AMT.
Having been around the industry for more than 25 years I’ve worked for FedEx in LAX since 2000. I’ve held various types of jobs as an AMT such as sheet metal, hangar heavy maintenance, and composites. Before FedEx, I worked for McDonnell Douglas/Boeing as a structural mechanic, inspector, and a repair and modification mechanic (RAMS) for 12 years, and another few years for Rohr industry, and Teledyne Ryan as a structural mechanic on an AH64 Apache helicopter.
Troy E. Clark
After I received my first bicycle it was no time before I had it apart figuring out how things worked and making improvements. At a young age I learned auto mechanics from a neighbor long before high school auto shop. In 1983 a neighbor and I signed up for the Marine Corps as an aircraft mechanic. I was stationed at El Toro assigned to VMFA-314 power plants shop, working on FA/18 Hornets. During my tour of duty I was also assigned to the USS Coral Sea CV-43 based in the Mediterranean Sea. I was honorably discharged from the Marine Corps in 1987. I worked for McDonnell Douglas Aircraft in Long Beach from 1988 to 2000 working in different departments and on different McDonnell Douglas programs. I received my A&P license in 1998 just in time to be laid off from McDonnell Douglas/Boeing in late 2000.