Eagle Switches Gears, Finds Success in AMS Program

Christian “Woody” Wood feels most in his element when he’s inspecting an aircraft or rebuilding a jet engine.

Christian Wood
B.S. in Aviation Maintenance Science student Christian Wood (Photo: Christian Wood)

Pursuing his B.S. in Aviation Maintenance Science (AMS) with a minor in Avionics Line Maintenance, the Daytona Beach junior is turning his passion for precise, hands-on labor and collaboration into a career in aviation.

Wood has always enjoyed working with his hands. In high school, he dual enrolled and took advantage of automotive service technology classes at his local technical college, graduating at the top of his class with multiple industry certifications.

“I knew I wanted more from my career than just turning wrenches in an automotive shop,” he said.

One of his instructors and mentors – also a licensed private pilot – recommended Embry-Riddle, and Wood enrolled in his first year as a Mechanical Engineering major. After diving into aircraft structures and manufacturing processes in Machine Shop Laboratory (ME200) with Professor Christopher Piccone, he made the switch to the AMS program in 2019.

“Aviation breeds excellence,” he said. “I realized that this industry commands the highest degree of professionalism and excellence from its members.”

Wood certainly excelled, being named to the Dean’s List each semester since and working for Textron Aviation as a Quality Engineering Intern during the summer of 2019.

The position provided a glimpse into the business and customer service side of aviation maintenance, as well as an opportunity to use his practical knowledge and technical experience to solve real-world problems.

“I was able to use my skills to lead a quality investigation that brought together assemblers, production leads and process engineers and resolve a year-long issue with baggage door installation on the small cabin jets,” Wood said.

He attributes much of his success to the immersive AMS curriculum and its structure, adding that “each project challenges you to put forth your best, not because of a grade, but because that is the nature of aviation.”

The program enabled Wood to gain valuable experience through access to the Turbine Engine Lab and hands-on projects in his Repair Station Operations course, where he worked on a crew to overhaul and install an actual flight engine to be installed on a trainer aircraft in the university’s fleet.

For Wood, leading others comes naturally.

He is the president of the Society of Aerospace Technicians, member of the College of Aviation’s Dean’s Student Advisory Board and Honors Program peer mentor. In the classroom, he takes pride in his ability to drive discussion and assist fellow students.

You can also find Wood broadcasting live from the university’s radio station, WIKD 102.5, or restoring vintage aircraft with the Barefoot Flying Club.

He aspires to work as a mechanic for a corporate flight department or at an Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) maintenance facility upon graduation. In 10 years, he sees himself serving as the liaison between customers and a maintenance facility in a customer service or director role.

Wood hopes his experience inspires other students to pursue what they enjoy most and embrace changes in their journey.

“I cherish the friendships that I have found among the students, staff and faculty of Embry-Riddle,” he said. “I will proudly look back at my time spent in the AMS building as an important catalyst in my life.”