The AMC is Back and Better Than Ever

Feb. 17, 2022
After a two-year pandemic-induced hiatus, the Aerospace Maintenance Competition (AMC) Presented by Snap-on is back.

It’s been a while since Ken MacTiernan grabbed hold of a microphone, addressed several hundred competitors positioned at their events primed to spring into action, and said the most important three words in aerospace maintenance: Ready … Set … Start!

Just how long has it been? Try 1,110 days to be exact.

“It’s been an awfully long time, but I’m really looking forward to seeing the teams back in action, and the excitement they bring to this competition,” MacTiernan said.

After a two-year pandemic-induced hiatus, the Aerospace Maintenance Competition (AMC) Presented by Snap-on is back, kicking off April 25 as part of the MRO America’s Convention at the Kay Bailey Hutchinson Convention Center in Dallas.

“What excites me the most about putting the competition back together is providing a stage to let students and professionals in the industry shine,” said MacTiernan, Chairman of the AMC. “It gives the entire aerospace maintenance community an opportunity to stand up, state their name and show what they do best.” 

A Competition Like No Other

The AMC has been described as the Olympics for the aviation maintenance industry as it provides a venue for professional AMTs and students to come together in friendly competition, test their skills against each other and give a loud shout-out to their presence in the industry.

“We provide a series of tests on all facets of aviation maintenance for technicians to demonstrate their skills, knowledge and ability,” said John Goglia, President of the Aerospace Maintenance Council and a former National Transportation Safety Board member. “Historically we haven’t had the ability to really showcase role models in maintenance, and the AMC gives us a platform to show exactly what aviation maintenance is all about.”

Now in its ninth year, the AMC is the brainchild of MacTiernan and Goglia. With their passion and dedication to the aviation maintenance industry, and with the backing of Snap-on, its primary sponsor, the two men have steadily grown the AMC to annually attracting nearly 90 teams competing in about 30 events. Despite the two-year hiatus, this year’s event is expected to attract a similar number of teams.

Teams compete to see who’s best in six divisions: Commercial Aviation, General Aviation, Space, Military, MRO/OEM, and School, which attracts teams from the country’s top A&P schools. Events include a wide-range of skills that technicians face every day on the job, including safety wiring, composite repair, electrical troubleshooting, turbine engine and others. Each event has a 15-minute time limit; the action is exciting, fast-paced and great drama for fans to watch.

All teams will be chasing the top prize in aviation maintenance: The William F “Bill” O’Brien Award for Excellence in Aircraft Maintenance. Presented by Snap-on, the O’Brien Award is presented to the team with the best overall winning score. That team receives the honor of displaying the 5-foot-tall trophy in their facility for a year. In addition to the trophy, Snap-on is awarding more than $75,000 in tools and equipment as prizes to the top finishers in the competition.

“Snap-on has enjoyed a great working relationship with Ken, John and the entire AMC team through the years, and we’re pleased to once again be the presenting sponsor of the Aerospace Maintenance Competition,” said Scott Steward, Business Development Manager, Aerospace/Aviation, Snap-on Industrial. “All teams will be using Snap-on tools as they vie for the O’Brien Award, and we wish everyone the best of luck in Dallas.”

“Snap-on is a perfect match for the AMC in that they share our same vision of what we try to accomplish every year,” Goglia said. “Skills, knowledge and ability are three hallmarks that define the AMC, and Snap-on brings those same traits in their tools and support to our event. It’s been a wonderful partnership through the years.

“This show is sponsor driven; it’s very expensive to put on. We’re very lucky to have not only Snap-on, but also other sponsors such as American Airlines, Pratt & Whitney and so many others. Without them, we couldn’t do this.”


The most recent O’Brien Award winner, United Airlines Team Cleveland, captured the title in 2019 – their third consecutive win in a row. But that streak will be ending this year as United has restructured its three teams attending the AMC. Nonetheless, United aspires to keep the title in house for a fourth year in a row, and Bonnie Turner thinks it may be the Chix’s time to shine.

Originally debuting in 2018, Team Chix Fix is United’s all-female team, which aims to showcase the airline’s talented group of women technicians.

“A good technician is a good technician. It’s a viable career choice for anyone who finds it interesting,” said Turner, a former captain of Chix Fix, but leading United’s MRO team this year. “Chix Fix not only wants to do well in the competition, but they also want to be an example to show that this career can be a great choice for young ladies.”

Joining Chix Fix at the AMC is Elevate Aviation, a Canadian-based non-profit organization whose goal is to introduce women and youth to careers spanning all sectors of aviation. This will be the third consecutive appearance in the AMC for the women of Elevate Aviation. Other all-female teams are also expected to enter the competition as well.

“The AMC is helping attract more females into the industry by making the profession visible to young women who may not be aware of the opportunity to working on airplanes,” MacTiernan said. “By putting them front and center, young girls see that women are competing and doing well; they learn that this career field isn’t just men.”

Admission to the Aerospace Maintenance Competition Presented by Snap-on is free with your MRO Americas convention credentials. If you’re at the show in April, be sure to stop by and cheer on the contending men and women working to keep air travel safe and secure. For more information on the AMC, visit

Steve Staedler is a senior account executive at LePoidevin Marketing, a Brookfield, Wisconsin-based business-to-business marketing firm that specializes in the tooling and aerospace industries. Steve has been covering aeronautical maintenance for more than 13 years; is a former newspaper reporter and retired master sergeant from the U.S. Air Force Reserve, where he worked maintenance and public affairs. He can be reached at [email protected]; 262-754-9550. 

About the Author

Steve Staedler | Senior Account Executive

Steve Staedler is senior account executive for LePoidevin Marketing that handles the Snap-on Industrial account.