SGTC Aviation Maintenance twin graduates recognized for expertise
Published 9:09 am Monday, May 15, 2023
Koby and Kip McClelland, twin brothers from Douglas, GA, graduated from the South Georgia Technical College Aviation Maintenance Technology program in August 2020. They were featured recently in “Flying Magazine” for their expertise in helping a retired American Airlines pilot, who experienced engine trouble in a Piper Arrow. “Flying Magazine” is the number one source for aviation news, airplane and gear reviews since 1927.
The twin brothers now own and operate Twin Aviation Repair, LLC in Douglas, GA. They are both thankful they chose South Georgia Technical College in Americus to study aviation maintenance and receive their Airframe and Power Plant (A & P) certification. South Georgia Technical College is currently celebrating its 75th anniversary and aviation maintenance was one of the original programs offered when the school opened. It is still going strong today.
“I always knew I wanted to fly and work with airplanes,” said Kip McClelland. “I initially tried to enter the military but that didn’t work out so my brother and I googled ‘good A & P schools.’ South Georgia Technical College came up and we visited the college and fell in love with the school.
“Anytime, I have the opportunity to tell others about South Georgia Tech, I am quick to tell them it is a great place to go. Everyone is very friendly and it is very affordable. The instructors are awesome and we both still call Instructor Paul Pearson, if we have a question about something,” laughed Kip McClelland.
The McClelland brothers operate a full-time aviation maintenance shop that conducts annuals, service calls, radio repair and more. Basically, anything to get someone back in the air quickly and safely, said Kip McClelland.
And that is exactly what they did for Les Abend, a retired 34-year veteran pilot of American Airlines, who found himself needing some help when his Piper Arrow experienced mechanical trouble as he was leaving Waycross (KAYS) in central Georgia. His home base is Flagler Executive Airport (KFIN) in Florida.
Barely five minutes into his flight, Abend’s plane had an engine problem and had to return to the Waycross Airport. The airport did not have a maintenance shop on the field but did provide phone numbers for local mechanics.
Abend’s second phone call connected with “a willing and able A & P,” Kip McClelland, who offered up his more available “A & P licensed” brother, Koby, but not before attempting to troubleshoot. Koby “arrived on the ramp earlier than promised. He had a cheerful demeanor as he described his troubleshooting plan of attack,” wrote Abend in the “Flying Magazine” article.
Kolby McClelland was able to determine the cause of the problem and helped Abend order a cylinder for the Piper Arrow. Not quite two weeks later, the new cylinder arrived and was installed. Abend returned to Waycross to pick up his plane. He encountered Kolby’s brother, Kip, this time. “I did a double take when he hopped out of the Cessna 150 he flew from his home base of Douglas Airport (KDQH).” The McClelland brothers are identical twins with identical careers.
Abend then remembered meeting the brothers at another Georgia airport during a fuel stop when a faulty fuel servo that was later replaced, made his hot start technique irrelevant. The brothers offered diplomatic advice, which eventually got the engine started. “Gotta be a small world when you meet twin A&Ps twice. The name of their company shirts should have clued me in: Twin Aviation Repair,” wrote Abend.
“All things considered, the aftermath experience was relatively painless. Compassionate and accommodating people made the difference,” wrote Abend. “That said, I could only imagine the possible outcomes had the intended environmental observation flight continued over the Okefenokee Swamp. Fortunately, the checkbook balance was the only casualty.”
Kip and Kolby are enjoying the opportunity to excel in the aviation maintenance field utilizing the skills they learned at South Georgia Technical College. The two both earned their pilots’ licenses after graduation and are offering flying lessons in addition to the maintenance and repair.
The phone number for the Twin Aviation Repair shop is their cell numbers, 912-327-0404 and 912-327-0406. “The numbers are two digits apart. “Kolby’s is two digits ahead of mine so it goes first,” said Kip, who added that Kolby is the oldest twin and beat him by “one minute.”
“This pair of twins are well on their way to the top,” said SGTC Aviation Maintenance Instructor Paul Pearson. “They have been out of school now for a little over two years and have already made their way into Flying Magazine.”
South Georgia Technical College is currently accepting applications for its Aviation Maintenance program. Classes start July 10th. The program is two years long and prepares individuals for the A & P certifications. For more information about the program visit www.southgatech.edu and click on Apply Now. Interested individuals can contact Lead Instructor Victoria Herron at email@example.com or Paul Pearson at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.