It’s over for this year. Four classmates and I competed as the only all-woman team at the annual Aerospace Maintenance Competition. It was our first time out. We competed against a roster of student teams from community colleges and private technical schools across the US. We’re still waiting to see how we did, but I can say for sure that we had a good time.

For those playing along at home the events were:

  • Bonding and grounding
  • Electrical troubleshooting on a mockup board
  • Electrical troubleshooting on a computer simulation
  • Safety wiring
  • Composites layup and vacuum sealing
  • Applying various types of sealants
  • Replacing a latch on a simulated fuel access panel
  • Removing and inspecting and reinstalling a wheel and brake
  • Testing a pitot-static system
  • Repairing the sheet metal frame around a cabin window
  • Removing a pneumatic drive unit from a turbine engine
  • Removing a thrust bearing from a different turbine engine
  • Troubleshooting a wiring harness and wiring a cannon plug
  • A test about Charles Taylor, the first aviation mechanic
  • A test about Human Factors
  • A test about early aviation mechanics
  • Researching regulatory publications

I’m tired just from writing the list. We did really well on some events and respectably well on most of the others. Yours truly read tons about Charles Taylor and still managed to miss a frustrating number of questions, but it was a great learning experience.

We all learned that the language used to describe sealant mixing is very funny if you’re mentally 12. We all learned that following the instructions exactly is sometimes harder than it looks, especially when you’re in a hurry and under pressure.

About that all-female team. We thought it would be neat to go all XX in order to show that women can do this job. The support from the other participants and sponsors was amazing. We actually got a little bit famous as “the girl team.”

I made some mistakes, but they were all learning moments for me. I hope I get to compete in the event again next year – especially now that I know what I need to know and know the best way to study for it.

Here’s a great sign from the Snap-On Tool booth:


Here’s an airplane mockup made by Wonder Bread:


Here’s a picture of the gang, posing with the Snap-On Tool guy:


Posted by lesherjennifer


  1. Way to go, Jennifer!



  2. Good job and a great experience! FYI: Just announced that a new aircraft engine manufacturing facility will be coming to Lafayette,IN. Beginning salaries $35 an hour.



    1. Thanks Judy! And what great news for Indiana!



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