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AIM Orlando Grad Follows in Fathers Footsteps

Posted by on Jan 24, 2019

By Gail Strickland, AIM Orlando Student Services Coordinator

On Friday, June 15, 2018, Luis Navas attended his exit ceremony at Aviation Institute of Maintenance (AIM) Orlando. However, this was no ordinary event for him.  Also, in attendance was his father, Gustavo Navas, who had graduated from AIM Orlando himself, almost exactly one year earlier, on June 11, 2017.

Utter pride showed on Gustavo’s face as he discussed what it meant for not only himself to have graduated, but his son, as well.

AIM Orlando Navas graduation

Luis Navas (left) and his father Gustavo (right) pose for a photo at Luis’s exit ceremony.

A Father’s Story

Prior to his time at AIM, Gustavo was working as an industrial mechanic in a Staples Warehouse.  He wanted something different and better though.  Gustavo has a cousin who works for Cessna and says that becoming an Aviation Maintenance Technician wasn’t on his mind until he received a tour of the Cessna hangar.  It was then that he fell in love with aviation. He says that since he graduated, he has reached his goal of working for Cessna and that people now look at him with respect.

Gustavo encouraged his son to go into the aviation field because he wanted him to have a bright future and be successful. However, Luis had different goals for himself.

Like Father, Like Son…Eventually

Luis began attending Lake Sumter State College.  After attending college for a time he felt like he was at a dead end and eventually dropped out.  Upon leaving Lake Sumter, Luis worked at U-Haul as a hitch pro but quickly grew frustrated. It was performing an oil change that changed his mind about becoming a mechanic.  He realized that he enjoyed working with mechanical things, then he took a tour of the same Cessna hangar his father had previously visited and recognized that it was a totally different world.

After the Cessna tour, he decided that this was what he wanted to do with his life – become an Aviation Maintenance Technician.

Almost exactly one year after his father began the program at AIM, Luis followed in his father’s footsteps and started school.  The father and son duo didn’t have any classes together, until Gustavo’s last block, Reciprocating Engines, taught by AIM Orlando Instructor James Allman.  Gustavo states that it took a push to get his Airframe and Powerplant (A&P) Certification but, with support from Mr. Allman, he did it.

“The process is not hard, but you need passion,” says Luis. “That way, when challenges do come, you don’t feel intimidated, but can enjoy it.”

Gustavo wants to encourage future students to consider AIM and says, “In my opinion, this (AIM) is one of the highest quality schools in the industry.”  Gustavo and Luis are both looking forward to working together in the aviation field.

AIM Houston Surprises Local School with Donation of Backpacks

Posted by on Nov 7, 2018

By Rita Pradier, AIM Houston Community Outreach Representative

Most of us can remember back-to-school shopping in the weeks before the start of school. New clothes, shoes and, of course, the cool backpack and supplies that your mom told you not to touch. Things have changed and many families don’t have the resources to purchase all of the required school supplies so many weeks in advance. To the rescue – AIM Houston’s “Backpack Attack”.

Donated school supplies waiting to be stuffed into backpacks by AIM Houston.

Donated school supplies waiting to be stuffed into backpacks by AIM Houston.

Aaron Armendariz, Campus Executive Director at AIM Houston, challenged the campus to participate in the project, as a way to give back to the local community. With the promise of 250 backpacks and school supplies on order, each department found a way to help before the challenge deadline. Lucile Gregg Elementary, a Title I school located near the AIM Houston campus, was contacted. The school’s principal, Mr. David Jackson, was given the news of the forthcoming donation.

In the weeks leading up to the deadline, AIM Houston’s National Technical Honor Society approached area stores to donate 1,000 spiral notebook tablets. Soon after, the staff and students joined in to help reach the goal. Classes challenged each other to make sure there would be enough supplies for the backpacks.

The final tally came to 1,973 notebooks donated by students and staff at AIM Houston. At last, it was packing day and all departments lent a hand as supplies were sorted, organized, bundled and placed into the backpacks.

Campus Executive Director Aaron Armendariz poses for a photo with a Lucile Gregg Elementary student as she receives her backpack.

Campus Director Aaron Armendariz poses for a photo with a Lucile Gregg Elementary student as she receives her backpack.

On Tuesday, August 21, 2018 the backpacks were delivered by the campus management team to Principal Jackson and his staff, to be shared with families in need. The students and parents from Lucile Gregg Elementary entered the cafeteria expecting just to meet their classroom teachers. However, they were greeted to a table of backpacks filled with school supplies to kick off the school year.

The AIM team issued the backpacks and posed for pictures with some of the students. It was truly fulfilling to see the children’s’ faces as they came forward. Principal Jackson and his staff thanked us for blessing them with the donation and now consider AIM a community partner. AIM Houston looks forward to collaborating with Lucile Gregg Elementary again in the near future.

About Aviation Institute of Maintenance

Aviation Institute of Maintenance (AIM) is a network of aviation maintenance schools with campuses coast-to-coast across the United States and headquarters located in Virginia Beach, Va. AIM students are trained to meet the increasing global demands of commercial, cargo, corporate and private aviation employers. AIM graduates are eligible to take the FAA exams necessary to obtain their mechanic’s certificate with ratings in both Airframe and Powerplant. AIM’s campuses are located in the following major metro areas: Atlanta, Philadelphia, Dallas, Houston, Indianapolis, Las Vegas, Washington, D.C., Kansas City, Mo., Fremont, Calif., Orlando, Fla., and Norfolk, Va. Learn more at: www.AviationMaintenance.edu.

AIM Las Vegas Graduate Spotlight: Wendell Gilkey

Posted by on Nov 5, 2018

AIM Las Vegas graduate Wendell Giley

AIM Las Vegas graduate Wendell Gilkey.

A father to three lovely children and a resident of the Las Vegas Valley, Wendell Gilkey was working full-time as a service technician for a local coffee service company before deciding to pursue a career in aviation maintenance.  Upon researching various schools, Wendell elected to attend AIM’s Las Vegas campus and enrolled into the Aviation Maintenance Technician (AMT) program.  In order to continue working and support his family, Wendell attended night classes.  He successfully graduated and moved quickly through the testing process in obtaining his Airframe and Powerplant certifications from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

Upon completion of his training program, Wendell stated, “The instructors here at AIM Las Vegas were all extremely helpful.  When I think about all of the work that I put in and the opportunities that are ahead of me, I feel so gratified.  I know that my confidence and determination will serve me well in job interviews.”

Sky Combat Ace’s Extra 330LC.

Having built his home and raising a family in Las Vegas, he desired to stay in the valley area in securing an A&P Mechanic position.  Gilkey’s wishes came to fruition when Sky Combat Ace (SCA) offered him a position as a maintenance technician. Sky Combat Ace offers unique flight experiences, with patrons having the opportunity to ride along with highly trained fighter pilots as they perform aerial aerobatics, and even provides guests the opportunity to take control of the aircraft, if they desire.  The aircraft they fly are the Extra330LC, and the Super Decathlon8KCAB.  These planes require highly skilled mechanics to ensure the safety of the pilots and the customers of SCA.

Wendell accepted Sky Combat Ace’s offer and is now employed as a FAA certified A&P mechanic Wendell says, “I love what I do! I couldn’t have done it without the help from the team at AIM Las Vegas.”

About Aviation Institute of Maintenance

Aviation Institute of Maintenance (AIM) is a network of aviation maintenance schools with campuses coast-to-coast across the United States and headquarters located in Virginia Beach, Va. AIM students are trained to meet the increasing global demands of commercial, cargo, corporate and private aviation employers. AIM graduates are eligible to take the FAA exams necessary to obtain their mechanic’s certificate with ratings in both Airframe and Powerplant. AIM’s campuses are located in the following major metro areas: Atlanta, Philadelphia, Dallas, Houston, Indianapolis, Las Vegas, Washington, D.C., Kansas City, Mo., Fremont, Calif., Orlando, Fla., and Norfolk, Va. Learn more at: www.AviationMaintenance.edu.

AIM Chesapeake Student Honored with Rotary Club Scholarship

Posted by on Oct 22, 2018

By Megan Lewis, AIM Chesapeake Veteran Affairs Officer

Joel English (left), Nicole Cain and Doug Davis (right).

“I knew, at six years old, when I grew up I was going to be around anything that could fly. I don’t know if I’m a ‘grown up’ yet, but I feel like I’m living out my dream.”

This was written by Aviation Institute of Maintenance (AIM) Chesapeake student, Nicole Cain, as part of her essay for a Rotary Club scholarship application. Nicole enrolled at AIM earlier this year after getting out of the Navy, where she worked on SH-60S helicopters.

The Rotary Club of Chesapeake, Virginia generously wanted to provide one local AIM student a $500 scholarship to pursue their education at the school. This was the first time they had offered a scholarship to a vocational/technical program individual. Several students turned in their applications and Nicole’s phenomenal essay was chosen out of all of the great submissions.

On September 12th the Rotary Club hosted a luncheon to award Nicole the scholarship. To her surprise, Rotary President, Doug Davis, presented her with a $1,000 check to support her educational dreams! Dr. Joel English, Vice President of Operations for AIM, announced that with AIM’s Scholarship Match program, Nicole would receive $2,000 total towards her schooling. It was a wonderful event, celebrating a dedicated student at AIM. Congratulations Nicole and best of luck in your pursuit of living out your dreams!

About Aviation Institute of Maintenance

Aviation Institute of Maintenance (AIM) is a network of aviation maintenance schools with campuses coast-to-coast across the United States and headquarters located in Virginia Beach, Va. AIM students are trained to meet the increasing global demands of commercial, cargo, corporate and private aviation employers. AIM graduates are eligible to take the FAA exams necessary to obtain their mechanic’s certificate with ratings in both Airframe and Powerplant. AIM’s campuses are located in the following major metro areas: Atlanta, Philadelphia, Dallas, Houston, Indianapolis, Las Vegas, Washington, D.C., Kansas City, Mo., Oakland, Calif., Orlando, Fla., and Norfolk, Va. Learn more at: www.AviationMaintenance.edu.

Career Fair to be Held at Aviation Institute of Maintenance

Posted by on Sep 18, 2018

The Indianapolis campus of Aviation Institute of Maintenance will be holding a career fair for its students, graduates, as well as individuals in the community who are seeking employment.


by Brian Stauss

The Aviation Institute of Maintenance (AIM) will be holding a career fair on Thursday, October 4 at its campus located at 7251 W McCarty St, Indianapolis, IN. The fair begins at 2 p.m. and will continue until 5 p.m. The event will feature a wide range of companies from the aviation industry, as well as a variety of companies from other industries.

Employers attending will lend guidance regarding the application process for their companies, and may even hold on-site interviews for qualified applicants. Guests are expected to attend the career fair professionally dressed, with copies of their resumes and prepared to network. A list of participating employers can be found at https://www.facebook.com/events/253473028626061/.

“The opportunity to meet face-to-face with so many recruiters; without getting lost in the shuffle of online applications, is something that individuals serious about a career in aviation will definitely want to take advantage of,” says Andy Duncan, Campus Executive Director of Aviation Institute of Maintenance’s Indianapolis campus. “At the same time, the career fair provides an avenue for us to promote the various training options available here at AIM.”

In addition to the career fair, the Indiana Blood Center will be on-site holding a blood drive, for individuals interested in donating blood.

The career fair is free and open to the public. For more information regarding Aviation Institute of Maintenance’s career fair, contact AIM’s Indianapolis campus at (317) 243-4519.

About Aviation Institute of Maintenance

Aviation Institute of Maintenance (AIM) is a network of aviation maintenance schools with campuses coast-to-coast across the United States and headquarters located in Virginia Beach, Va. AIM students are trained to meet the increasing global demands of commercial, cargo, corporate and private aviation employers. AIM graduates are eligible to take the FAA exams necessary to obtain their mechanic’s certificate with ratings in both Airframe and Powerplant. AIM’s campuses are located in the following major metro areas: Atlanta, Philadelphia, Dallas, Houston, Indianapolis, Las Vegas, Washington, D.C., Kansas City, Mo., Oakland, Calif., Orlando, Fla., and Norfolk, Va. Learn more at: www.AviationMaintenance.edu.