Leading regional airline Exeter based engineers place second at prestigious International Aerospace Maintenance Competition in US
A five-strong team of engineers employed by Flybe Aviation Services at Europe’s largest regional airline, has returned home to Exeter from the US triumphant as number two in the aviation maintenance world having placed second in the International Team category at the annual 2017 Aerospace Maintenance Competition in Florida. The prestigious event is regarded as the ‘MRO Olympics’ (Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul) and this year attracted 53 teams from across the world including those from such global giants as Boeing, United Airlines, Qantas, Virgin Galactic, and the US Army and Airforce.
Flybe’s team, Joel Denton, Ashley Goodliffe, Andy Messom, Luke Thomas (Team Leader) and Simon Tooze, was a last-minute entry competing for the first time and was the only European team at this year’s event which required them to undertake tasks in 26 maintenance categories. This incorporated both practical and theoretical tasks all set to test skill and highlight technical prowess in aviation maintenance. They were also placed second in the MRO/OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturers) category, just losing out to Boeing, and Simon and Andrew were crowned the fastest in the Fuel Tank Entry category.
Christine Ourmieres-Widener, Flybe CEO said: “Every one of us at Flybe is so exceptionally proud of this successful team of colleagues for their outstanding performance in the 2017 Aerospace Maintenance Competition. This was the first time we had ever sent a team to compete and to come away with two second place trophies is a fantastic achievement, particularly with two members who have come through our own apprenticeship programme. The judges remarked at how well they worked as a team. They are a credit to Flybe and typify the commitment to teamwork and passion for excellence we work to achieve overall as a company.”
Andrew Messom, team member and Aircraft Engineer Supervisor at Flybe, said the competition was ‘an amazing experience’. “The atmosphere was buzzing with excitement and nerves. To have come away with two trophies for second place was a bit of a shock for our first time at the competition and it took quite a while for our cheesy grins to go! I feel very proud to have shown our skills and knowledge base to the rest of the world on behalf of Flybe.”
The team represented a wide spectrum of engineering experience, with some having been with Flybe for over ten years and others with just six months or so under their belt. Joel and Ashley are both ‘home-grown’ having qualified as fully licensed engineers through the airline’s four-year Engineering Diploma at the Flybe Training Academy in Exeter.