By Jul DeGeus
We’ve all had that one teacher. You know, the one that was so cool that we didn’t really consider them a teacher. I mean, yeah, we were learning from them, and all, but it didn’t feel like it was their “job” to teach us; they did it because they sincerely wanted to see us succeed. They wanted us to be who we wanted to be and would give us every tool they had at their disposal to help us to get there. We’ll never be able to thank that person properly, but in honor of Teacher Appreciation Day on May 9th, we’d like to thank some of our instructors who are making a difference in all that they do:
“At AIM Houston, Mr. Michael Riccardelli has been instrumental with providing his skills and expertise to our students. He has especially been an important influence on our A&P Skill Competition Team, the Houston Hawks, who recently placed first at the PAMA Olympics and 2nd at the Aerospace Maintenance Competition in Orlando. His hard work and dedication to our students at AIM Houston is imperative in the success of our Skills Team and all our graduates. AIM Houston would like to thank Mr. Riccardelli and all the AIM Houston faculty for the hard work they do every day. Every one of you is truly appreciated.”
– Aaron Armendariz, Campus Executive Director, AIM Houston
“Mr. Robert McRight was selected as AIM Orlando’s Instructor of the Year 2017 due to his professionalism, dedication and attention-to-detail; He raises the bar for excellence. His unselfish example exhibits him as a team player, which is always evident in his willingness to go above and beyond what is expected. The students that Mr. McRight taught consistently rated his professional and caring teaching style among the best they had received. The manner in which he conducts himself reflects total dedication to the mission of the school. He is most deserving of a job “well-done” recognition!”
-Jerry Moore, Campus Executive Director, AIM Orlando
AIM Kansas City
“Mr. Decker has been an instructor at AIM Kansas City for just over a year. In that short amount of time, he has had a great impact on the students. Mr. Decker once sat right where our students sat, as he is a graduate of AIM Kansas City. Mr. Decker creates a class environment that leads students into additional exploration of advanced subject matter above and beyond the standard curriculum. He won instructor of the year at AIM Kansas in his first year, and is always looking at ways to improve the campus. Keep up the great work Mr. Decker!”
-Adrian Rothrock, Campus Executive Director, AIM Kansas City
“Tom Oriole is the resident “helicopter guy” and one of our finest instructors at AIM Atlanta. Having received his A&P license in 1972, Tom has worked all over the world including Nuevo Leon, Mexico and Jiangxi Province, China. Tom joined the faculty at AIM Atlanta in September of 2012 and quickly became an invaluable asset to the school. Whether introducing new students to Aerodynamic Fundamentals in block 1 or showing a student in block 5 how to calculate sheet metal bend allowance, Tom exhibits the skill, patience, and natural ability to excel as an instructor. Tom has the respect of the students, the faculty and staff and we’re proud to acknowledge him on Teacher Appreciation Day.”
-Ben Sitton, Campus Executive Director, AIM Atlanta
“Mike Morgan was selected as the AIM Indianapolis instructor of the year for many reasons. Mike has been instrumental in developing new training aids, such as the JT – 8 engine with functional thrust reverse and the Cabin-Atmosphere mock-up improvements. Mike works on projects outside the bounds of normal class hours and is always successful in getting students involved with the extra projects. Mike is an excellent instructor in the classroom and while students claim they are joking about switching shifts to ensure they have class with him, I think they are only half joking. Mike is a mentor and role model for his students and co-workers. We are proud to have Mike on staff at AIM Indy.”
-Andy Duncan, Campus Executive Director, AIM Indianapolis
“James Heaver has worked on 8 different aircraft fleet types, for 3 different Airlines and has been an instructor for the past 12 years. James has held many position in the aviation field, such as Airline General Maintenance Manual Instructor, Engine Run & Taxi Instructor and FAA FAR Part 147 Director of Education, which make him a well-rounded educator for our campus. In April of 2017, we honored James by choosing him as AIM Manassas’ “Instructor of the Year.” Thank you for all that you do!”
– Marion Dobbins, Campus Executive Director, AIM Manassas
By Jul DeGeus
Imagine this: Your final paper on ”The History of Cleaning and Corrosion Control” is due tomorrow but you forgot to cite the book you used, and even worse, you forgot the name of the book. You make an emergency trip to the library, but when you walk in, no one is there. A building abandoned, books are scattered everywhere, piled atop of one another with no rhyme or reason in how they are categorized. Will you find the book in enough time to turn in your paper?
Thanks to the hard work and organization skills of librarians, this is an unlikely situation to find yourself in. April 4th is National School Librarian Day and here at the Aviation Institute of Maintenance, we wanted to take the time to recognize some of our all-star librarians:
Rebecca (left) assists a student with homework.
“Rebecca Crosby has been working for AIM Atlanta for nearly 14 years. She is a superstar on campus and we are proud to have her as our librarian. Rebecca became interested in Library Science as a high school student. She took five years of Library Science courses while attending Berkmar High School in Lilburn, GA.
Rebecca began her career at AIM as a receptionist. The campus was based out of a hangar called “Briscoe Field” and had no library. When AIM Atlanta moved into its new campus building nine years ago, Rebecca made the leap to Campus Librarian. Rebecca loves working in the library because she is able to help students and connect with them on a daily basis. Like almost every other librarian, she also loves to read! Rebecca’s favorite book, for now, is “The Notebook” by Nicholas Sparks. “
-AIM Atlanta Staff
“Shout out to the amazing Mrs. Leah Veal, our Librarian and PSI proctor. No matter the task or project, she is always willing to assist wherever she is needed. Even if that means hunting down a missing manual; she will look for it and she will find it. Both students and staff appreciate you and your enthusiasm when helping others. Thank you, Leah, for everything that you do!”
-AIM Chesapeake Staff
“Valerie Harris has worked at AIM Dallas as the campus librarian since 2015. Prior to that, she worked in education for over 25 years. She graduated from The University of Southern Mississippi with a Bachelor’s Degree in Library and Information Science and minored in History. Valerie has improved our library processes and coordination. She is always willing to provide a helping hand to students searching for specific information or material. Thank you for always making sure the library remains a quiet haven for our students to study. “
-AIM Dallas Staff
“Lucero ‘Lucy the Librarian’ Rosales began her career at AIM Houston as a part time receptionist and was promoted to Assistant Librarian shorty after. Lucy is very creative and always willing to help any student or staff member. She currently attends Houston Community College where she is studying pastry arts and plans to open a bistro after college. We’re so proud of all of your hard work, Lucy!”
-AIM Houston Staff
AIM Kansas City
Frederick Douglas Thomas
Aptly named after the famous Frederick Douglass, AIM Kansas City’s Frederick Douglas Thomas is treasure to our school. A man of many titles, Fredrick is the Librarian, Career Services Coordinator, director of FAA test proctoring, and head of the graduation committee. He is a constant rock of support for his students and colleagues, encouraging excellence, honor, integrity and humility. He challenges everyone he interacts with to become their best selves and does it all while looking like a million bucks! Thank you for all that you do!”
-AIM Kansas City Staff
“Karoline received her BA in History from the University of Central Florida and her Masters in Library Science from San Jose State. Karoline became a librarian because, ‘I have a deep love for history and books; this is a career that allows me to fulfill that passion and share it with others.’ We’re lucky that our library is the one you get to share your passion with!”
-AIM Oakland Staff
“Noreen started at the Aviation Institute of Maintenance in Orlando on January 26, 2015 and plays a dual role. She is the testing proctor in the afternoons and the Evening Library Assistant, accommodating students with their Learning Resource Center needs. Noreen comes from New York, likes to keep busy and ‘loves to help people.’”
“Ruth is the Daytime Library Assistant at the Aviation Institute of Maintenance in Orlando. She started at the campus on May 12, 2016 and ‘loves working with our students.’ Originally from St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, Ruth enjoys cooking and singing gospel music in her spare time. “
-AIM Orlando Staff
Late in September, a number of crates were delivered to the Military Aviation Museum’s Fighter Factory from the Aviation Institute of Maintenance – Kansas City campus, where a team of students and instructors have been working on the Museum’s latest aircraft, a World War I vintage Morane-Saulnier AI, building it from the ground up.
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Originally broadcast by KCTV – Faces of Kansas City on August 30, 2012
The student volunteers at Aviation Institute of Maintenance (AIM) in Kansas City were featured on the Faces of Kansas City segment of KCTV channel 5 news. The students at this aviation career school were billed as working on the “Ultimate Student Project”. Of course the Morane-Saultier that they have been building was showcased. There were also some interviews with both students and staff of AIM – Kansas City. James Shumaker, Chris Hendrix, Patrick Nelson, Marvin Story and James Benton all provided their input on the building of the WWI aircraft.
During the segment, the process used to cover the wings for the WWI aircraft was discussed and shown. Chris was quoted as saying, “Just like in World War I everything in this aircraft is completely hand-built. We have designed and hand built every aspect of it. We’ve really been working off of photos rather than blueprints.”
Although it was mentioned that the WWI Morane-Saulnier was to be finished in a couple of months and then flown to the Fighter Factory in Virginia Beach, the aircraft is still currently hangared at AIM Kansas City.
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The Morane war aircraft project at Aviation Institute of Maintenance in Kansas City has gotten down to where the remaining work is related to the finer points of construction. The engine installation needs to be finished and that meant a little rework on the firewall. We will require a larger fuel tank to give the range on the Morane that we wanted. This means lots of replumbing of the fuel and oil lines. And we will still need to construct the exhaust system.
Some of you may remember, way back when, we tried to adapt the Russian built exhaust system that came with the engine. We found problem after problem with the design and welding the alloys used on the original. We solved the problem by finding a company that could roll the exhaust collector to our specifications for the Morane and we would take it from there. The first sections are now being fitted up, and things are going much smoother now.
The first sections of the new exhaust collector are being fitted and installed.
Our student aviation maintenance technicians had constructed and then modified the original fuel tank to fit the space. But after they had fitted it up, they discovered that the capacity was not adequate to provide enough flying time in the Morane to accomplish even the flights needed to move the airplane between airshows. A new, larger capacity tank was designed and built. When the welding was done, all of the tanks we had built needed to be leak tested before we begin installing them.
Team leader Marvin Story leak tests one of the tanks built for the project.
With enough struts to hold up a bridge, the Morane needed a little help in streamlining all of that tubing. The modern streamlined tubing we see used for struts today was not available, so round tube was used for the struts, and wood was shaped for streamling. The aviation career school students have completed building all of the wood pieces and are now installing them. They will be secured with linen thread wrapped around the wood, and then the whole assembly varnished to protect it from the elements.
The wooden streamling has been installed on this strut. In the background you can see the steel tube of the rear strut which has not been covered yet.
Here is a closeup of the linen cord wrapped around the wood pieces to secure them in place. The whole assembly will receive a final coat of varnish to finish it.
While the detail work on the Morane is progressing slowly, it is necessary and a very important part of having a safe and historically accurate final product.
Stay tuned for the next installment on
The Morane project at Kansas City caught the interest of one of the local TV stations. They sent a crew out to the school and spent some time interviewing both students and staff regarding the project.
Patrick Nelson is interviewed for the "Faces of Kansas City" presentation featuring the Morane.
To see the segment as it aired, this link will take you there: