The Guns were blazing at the Virginia Beach Aero Skills Finals

Submitted by Chase Snoek Wed, 10/10/2018 - 15:25

The Guns and Pistols were blazing at the Virginia Beach Aero Skills Finals (for Mid-Atlantic Region); rivet guns and pistol drills that is. What started out with only a few competitors on the Wednesday prior to the event, quickly saw seven competitors raring to go by Friday between Junior and Senior Levels of competition.

The winners walked away with one thousand dollars cash in their pockets and an all-expenses paid trip to Tucson, AZ, for the National Final event scheduled for December at the Old Tucson western town. Five competitors from the AIM school in Chesapeake and Two Seniors. Jay Logie, the developer of the Aero Skills Tournament said, “It’s the competitors who made this event happen as they eagerly stepped right up, prepared for participation in the competition. We started here in VB a year ago, by simply putting the word out that we were doing this; we got only 3 competitors. Now, each event is gaining momentum with seven registering for this year. A shout out and special thank you to Tim Murray and David Karnuth from Aviation Institute of Maintenance for their invaluable assistance. Their group of students were great too. I had a chance to play instructor, helping them with the craft we call aircraft structures (aka aircraft sheet metal)”

Virginia Beach is a great venue since the Military Aviation Museum resides here with one of the largest fleets of Warbirds and a great destination area for visiting when the competitors weren’t on the guns. With each year now rotating between two sites for each region, starting in 2019, we’ll see the event moved to the Pittsburgh, PA / Morgantown, WV area and the return to VB in 2020.

The winners of the competition were:

Junior Level Structures:

1st Josh Shumate

2nd Heather Hartman

3rd Michael Ahmes

Senior Level Structures:

1st Kilifi Maluafa

2nd Denise Eaton

Structures Exhibition Team Rounds (randomly chosen Teams of Structures*):

1st Denise Eaton, Heather Hartman

2nd Michael Ahmes, Andrew Bailey

3rd Kilifi Maluafa, Josh Shumate, Allision

*Thanks, Kilifi Maluafou and Michael Ahmes for stepping up to structures for exhibition events.

Over forty schools have competed over the past couple of years with many more schools and facilities providing feedback. Where the Local events at the trade schools and the Regional events across the country are set to an audience engaging competition with Individual Top Gun and Team Exhibition competitions, the National format is based ONLY upon the Top Gun Fab and Build project. This Championship had four time-based and quality rounds; fabrication, build (riveting parts together), disassembly (removing the rivets) and reassembly of the same parts. Special thanks to each competitor, school and industry partner as they truly are the ones who have been instrumental in bringing the whole idea to life!

AERO SKILLS is a competition based on industry processes and best practices, set in an audience environment so that students and the community at large have an opportunity to see technicians demonstrating their skills, hear about the numerous career options the aerospace industry has to offer and to tour an aviation facility or school to see first-hand what a career in aviation is all about. For competitors it’s not only competing with likeminded people, but it also quickly opens the door to the many employment opportunities that exist in the aerospace industry today.

ATG’s Aviation NETWorX platform features a new autonomous, heuristic work force development program and CertTEC is a performance-based testing platform. Both are the industry sponsors for the Aero Skills Tour, and they would like to give a shout out to technicians who are taking on the challenge across the country. “Every one of these young techs (and of course the senior techs) made these events great and proved that it’s a fun and unique experience for all, guaranteed.” said a sponsor spokesperson.

ATG Aircraft Technologies Group specializes in providing work force support to the heavy maintenance industries and manufacturing through highly skilled technicians and teams, streamlining service, standardizing and targeting, and through fixed price programs.

For more about what ATG, NETWorX workforce development programs please visit: and to learn more about the Aero Skills Tournament please visit: