Two Kansas State University Polytechnic Campus students received awards at the recent Aero Skills Tournament in Wichita at Exploration Place.
The tournament is a one-day regional competition for aircraft technicians and is sponsored by Aviation NETWorX. Schools and industry send their best aircraft structures candidates to compete. The competition required assembling and disassembling a sheet metal project. The students and teams were judged on the quality of their work based on Federal Aviation Administration-approved methods and guidelines.
The team of Rafael Ayala, Beloit, and Brett Steverson, Topeka, both juniors in aviation maintenance management, earned third place and a $700 award in the junior division, which is for students with one year or less working with sheet metal.
Steverson also competed individually and won the sheet metal fabrication competition, earning $1,000 and the right to compete at the national competition in Las Vegas in February 2020.
“I received second place last year and was motivated to go back this year,” Steverson said. “Knowing what to expect, I was better able to prepare.”
Kansas State Polytechnic aviation maintenance professors encouraged Ayala and Steverson to compete. Preparation included spending many hours in the maintenance lab fabricating a sheet metal project to showcase multiple techniques.
After earning his degree, Steverson wants to work at a maintenance repair and overhaul facility in the Pacific Northwest. Ayala plans to gain experience working in the aviation maintenance field. He also intends to earn his private pilot license and maintain his own aircraft.