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LETU Wins First Place in Professional Aviation Maintenance Association (PAMA) Competition


The team of aviation students from LeTourneau University won first place at the Southwest Regional Professional Aviation Maintenance Association competition in Fort Worth, Texas, recently, competing against several other aviation maintenance technology schools in Texas and Oklahoma. PAMA is the premier aviation maintenance organization for aviation maintenance technicians which fosters continuous improvement in aviation safety.

LETU aeronautical science majors took two of the three top spots as senior Patrick Harney of Lowville, N.Y., won first place and senior Jacob Sweers of Mount Hermon, Calif., won third place. Rounding out the team were senior Tommy Regier of Fairview, Okla.; sophomore Tim Powell of Klamath River, Calif.,; and senior Luke Sjoblom of Longview, Texas.

Faculty sponsor was assistant professor of applied aircraft systems Andy Farrell, who had great praise for his students.
"This year, the judges changed the electrical project in the competition so that the students had to troubleshoot a challenging electrical wiring harness that was like something you would see on a weapons system, not on a small airplane," Farrell said. "They had to test to see if it was good or not. After the event, the judge on that project went out of his way to come compliment our students in person because he was impressed that nobody on our team was intimidated by this unique project."

During the competition that required intense concentration, the students were required to complete maintenance tasks similar to those they would encounter in their careers as Airframe and Powerplant (A&P) mechanics. The students were graded on safety wiring, torquing, riveting, precision measurement and electrical system trouble shooting. They rotated to a dozen different stations with only 20 minutes per station and were graded by judges who were from the aviation industry or aviation education. Individual scores were based on the final product, but also on safety and tool management, which meant organizing their tools and discarding debris.

This is the third year LETU has competed in PAMA competition, where students took home the first place trophy last year, and the second place trophy in their first year of competition. Prior to the competition, the students met on weekends to practice for the competition.

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