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Source: Evan Beckman, 785-826-2978,
News release prepared by: Natalie Blair, 785-826-2642,

Tuesday, Aug. 10, 2010


SALINA -- A Kansas State University Salina student rates among the best in the nation when it comes to aviation maintenance.

Allan Richardson, Adams, Neb., earned sixth place in the aviation maintenance event at the recent SkillsUSA national competition in Kansas City, Mo. Richardson earned 766.5 points out of the 1,000 available points.

"If you get a score higher than 700 at nationals, you're doing really good," said Evan Beckman, aviation maintenance instructor and adviser to the K-State Salina SkillsUSA team.

Richardson, a senior in aviation maintenance, had to complete 12 tasks -- and they all had to be done right the first time.

"You don't get a second sheet of metal if you realize you made a mistake on the first one. You repair it and keep going," Beckman said.

Adding to the pressure, the clock was ticking.

"I had to concentrate on what I was doing without stopping for almost eight hours straight," Richardson said. "I don't think I really ever stopped what I was doing to even look around.

"It was kind of neat being in my own little zone, but it also the most challenging part of the experience. Not only was I competing against 14 talented people, I had to push myself to complete the competition in time and try to do my best," he said.

Richardson plans to continue to compete throughout the upcoming school year and hopes to return to nationals.

"I look forward to going back next year because I have a better idea of what to expect, what my mistakes were, who my competition will be, and what I can do to prepare," he said.

Richardson also is studying avionics and has earned certificates in airframe and powerplant.