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Wrench-turners battle for top spot in Rodeo 2011 maintenance competition

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Michael Battles
  • 60th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs
Crowds cheered as the competitors of the maintenance skill competition entered the hangar here July 25 during the Air Mobility Rodeo 2011.

The event, which is new to Rodeo, tests a four-person team on normal daily maintenance activities that would be performed during a shift at home stations.

For the competition, participants are given 30 minutes to complete eight tasks that need to be executed with proficiency and under Air Force guidelines, such as inspections, vehicle movement and aircraft maintenance to receive optimum points.

"Since this was a new event, we had no idea what to expect," said Master Sgt. Lottie Walker, the 19th Airlift Wing maintenance team lead from Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark. "This competition shows our day-to-day operations and our Airmen really got to show off their skills."

One of the main areas of competition requires a member of each team to repair the valve assembly on an aircraft, which was simulated on a maintenance lift. Members also were tasked with removing and replacing the starter on a generator.

While participants completed the tasks assigned to them, Rodeo umpires verified that no competitor incurred any safety violations, deviated from the technical data or completed a task in an unsatisfactory way. Each of the violations would add a penalty to the overall score of the team for the competition.
 
"We really had to think in a different way to complete the tasks assigned to us because we were kept in the dark until the second the competition started," said Tech Sgt. Edward Simmons, a 130th Airlift Wing C-130 Hercules crew chief. "It was a challenge, but it gave us a chance to prove our knowledge and maintenance training."

Each base and international partner competing in the Air Mobility Rodeo must compete in the maintenance skill competition or forfeit an automatic 700 points from its overall score, officials said.