Helena College team flies high at National Aerospace Maintenance Competition

Megan Michelotti

Helena College’s Aviation Maintenance Technology program sent a team to the National Aerospace Maintenance Competition in Atlanta for the first time ever.

Out of the 26 or so events, Helena College students placed first in two of them.

Mario Aceves won Virtual Reality Painting and Eric Dobson won Click-Loc fastening, which is a self-locking technology that was created to replace lock-wire and safety cable usually found in aircraft engines.

Other team members were Jamar West, Ashleigh Catlow and Kanoa Palazzolo. Some of the other events were aircraft tire inspections, FedEx cargo lock, engine fan blade removal and more.

“The thing that stood out to me the most was the morale boost that it was to the students and to a lot of the other competitors and exhibitors,” said aviation instructor Wes Walker, who’s been teaching at the college for eight years. “All of a sudden they see what is available out there.”

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The event is held annually at the Maintenance, Repair, Overhaul Americas Trade Show. There were over 400 competitors on 86 teams. Some represented airlines like United Airlines and American Airlines. There were also participants

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