two men standing next to airplane


(ABILENE, Texas) – Two second-semester Texas State Technical College aviation maintenance students have thrown down the gauntlet to their classmates.

Jeb Drewery, of Hallsville, and Sandy Medina, of Abilene, recently passed the Federal Aviation Administration’s general knowledge test, a prerequisite for taking the Airframe and Powerplant knowledge tests. Passing all three is required to receive the FAA’s Aviation Mechanic certificate with Airframe and/or Powerplant ratings.

Now the two men have challenged their four other classmates to pass the general knowledge test by the end of July.

“It took some of the older students three or four tries to pass the general test,” Drewery said. “We studied three or four times a day so we could pass it on the first administration.”

Ross Jones, an aviation maintenance instructor, said it is rare for students to nail the test on the first attempt. 

“The general aviation test is the hardest and most intense of the tests our students will take,” Jones said. “For Jeb and Sandy to pass during their first semester shows their determination.”

Medina said he has talked to his classmates about what to expect on exam day.

“We will not tell them what is on the test, but we are going to give our classmates the best test-taking tips we can,” he said.

Jones said having students pass the exam during their first semester also shows the commitment of TSTC’s aviation instructors.

“It shows what we are teaching our students is being rewarded with passing marks on the exams,” he said.

Drewery is a former collegiate baseball player who enjoyed mechanical work while growing up in East Texas.

“I have adored planes from the first time I saw them,” he said. “I walked away from college baseball when I realized it was not for me. I said to myself that I needed to grow up, and a career in aviation is what I want to do.”

Medina said he grew up traveling and often saw planes.

“I went through a lot of airports as a kid, and I liked mechanical work,” he said. “I thought my love of airplanes and mechanics would go perfectly together.”

While Drewery and Medina are only partway through the program, they know what they plan to do when they finally receive their Associate of Applied Science degrees in Aircraft Airframe Technology and Aircraft Powerplant Technology.

“We are starting to see the big picture of the program,” Drewery said. “I want to stay in general aviation and work with the smaller planes. I like that I will be able to have personal relationships with the plane owners.”

Medina plans to take a different route.

“Since I like to travel, I want to work in the commercial industry,” he said. “I want to work on the bigger planes.”

Jones said the efforts of Drewery and Medina are important, especially on May 24, which is Aviation Maintenance Technician Day. The day is observed to honor the birthdate of Charles Edward Taylor, who built the first aircraft engine used by the Wright Brothers.

The need for aircraft mechanics and service technicians in Texas was forecast to grow 16% between 2020 and 2030, according to The average annual salary for a technician in the state is $77,640, the website stated.

TSTC offers Associate of Applied Science degrees and certificates of completion in both Aircraft Airframe Technology and Aircraft Powerplant Technology at its Abilene, Harlingen and Waco locations.

Registration for TSTC’s fall semester is underway. Learn more at

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