Willie Rodriguez (left), who teaches TSTC’s FAST Trac Airframe and Powerplant Workforce Training program, discusses measurements with student Sarah Penney. TSTC offers an Associate of Applied Science degree and certificates of completion in Aircraft Airframe Technology and Aircraft Powerplant Technology at the Abilene, Harlingen and Waco campuses.

(ABILENE, Texas) – May 24 is a day set aside to honor aviation maintenance technicians, and the aviation maintenance instructors at Texas State Technical College work hard to ensure that the future aircraft technicians under their wings get the best possible training.

Several TSTC Aircraft Airframe Technology and Aircraft Powerplant Technology students will earn Associate of Applied Science degrees this summer and are preparing to begin their careers. Recently they talked about the need for TSTC’s aviation maintenance program in West Texas and why it is important to the region and the aviation industry.

Jayden Hummel, of Abilene, said having an aviation maintenance program available in Abilene made it a simple decision for him to attend TSTC. He is the son of a U.S. Air Force veteran.

“Having an aviation program that is readily accessible is one of the benefits of the TSTC program,” he said. “Many people drive by an airport wishing they could work on an airplane. In Abilene we can drive by, and about a year and a half later we are able to get a job at our airport.”

Andy Smith, of Abilene, is excited about his future in aviation maintenance.

“We have learned that it is a very physically demanding job,” he said. “The need for aviation mechanics is going to double over the next few years, and TSTC is preparing people for that growth. We are getting the skill sets needed to have a career that can lead to anything.”

Joshua Galvan, of Abilene, said younger mechanics will be needed over the next several years.

“A lot of the mechanics are getting older, and it is up to the younger generation to fill that role,” he said. “TSTC offers the best way to learn a lot about the industry and be ready for a career.”

Hayden New, of Newcastle, said TSTC’s program can open many opportunities in addition to a career in aviation.

“You will be able to work on almost any big engine with a degree in airframe and powerplant,” he said. “This is a good program to get an education for many different fields.”

Myles Christie, of Abilene, agreed.

“The degree will open many doors and opportunities for us,” he said. “Most people with the airframe and powerplant degrees can achieve any goal because they have the tools for success. TSTC is the best place to receive an education in the industry, and it is because of the great instructors. They have the experience and are sharing that with us.”

Caul Irwin, of Lubbock, said he has always been interested in airplanes and expects to put what he has learned to use in a hangar.

“(TSTC) is a great place to learn, and you will not realize how much you will be able to do when you finish the program,” he said.

May 24 is Aviation Maintenance Technician Day and is observed in honor of the birth of Charles Edward Taylor, the man who built the engine used to power the Wright Brothers’ first airplane.

The need for aircraft mechanics and service technicians in Texas was forecast to grow 16% between 2020 and 2030, according to onetonline.org. The average annual salary for a technician in the state is $67,680, 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 campuses.

Registration for the fall semester is underway. For more information about TSTC, visit tstc.edu.

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