Ensuring safety at all altitudes: Go behind the scenes with KOSU Aircraft Maintenance and Avionics team


When you’re flying— whether that be commercial or private— you put your trust and safety in the hands of the pilot. Long before your flight, however, there’s a lot of hard work performed by aircraft and avionics experts to ensure that the aircraft is safe and ready for takeoff. At The Ohio State University Airport the same attention to detail is given to the flight school's training fleet.

Flight school plane inside maintenance hangar with Byron Bruno
Aircraft Mechanic Byron Bruno inspects an aircraft wing

There’s a great deal that goes into maintaining an aircraft. As an FAA Certified Repair Station KOSU’s Aircraft Maintenance and Avionics team performs an array of services to verify that flight education aircraft are safe prior to flight.

Aircraft mechanics stay busy performing 50-hour and 100-hour inspections for the Part 141 flight school. They run preliminary checks, assess various problems and find solutions that are in compliance with strict safety regulations.

“Keeping airplanes safe and the people inside them safe is our biggest thing,” says Aircraft Mechanic Byron Bruno.

The aircraft maintenance and avionics shop at KOSU prioritizes safety. With over 275 years of combined staff experience, the team is dedicated to providing high quality aircraft services.

Chief Inspector Steve Tompkins shares what motivates the team’s high performance. “People are relying on us – we don’t want them worried.”

Aircraft Mechanic Byron Bruno also dives into how fulfilling this career can be. “To know that you solved a problem and see it worked 100% and not come back with the same problem and did a good job – it’s very rewarding.”

Steve Tompkins
Chief Inspector Steve Tompkins

While Bruno and his fellow mechanics get their hands dirty on the hangar floor, Tompkins is upstairs performing managerial duties. “I observe and keep the guys safe and make sure we’re doing things to the books,” says Tompkins. Both roles are crucial to ensuring everything is done correctly and yields the safest aircraft possible.

Aircraft maintenance goes hand in hand with another essential department: avionics. This area is in charge of an aircraft’s electronics, such as the technology that shows the altitude, airspeed and location. In aviation, accuracy is of the utmost importance. Similarly to aircraft maintenance, the field is ever-changing.

“Systems are constantly being upgraded and we need to be researching and knowing what’s going on at all times,” says Avionics Manager Chuck Jenkins.

Chuck Jenkins working
Chuck Jenkins at work in the avionics hangar

Jenkins’ job is to manage the avionics technicians, determine what services are required, order parts and keep things moving in the department. A career in avionics is an enriching one. Avionics specialists get to bring 30-40 year old planes back to life with new technology, which is something not everyone gets to do.

“Everyday is a new challenge and you never know what the problem is you’ll need to work through,” says Jenkins

Aircraft Maintenance and Avionics is one of the many vital departments that keep KOSU up and running and flight education students safe as they pursue their dreams. The teams are passionate about what they do and they keep the safety of Ohio State’s flight students above anything else.

by Carrie White, professional writing intern

Categories: PersonnelOutreach