Michele Viviani

Kopter Group AG, Wetzikon, Switzerland

Michele Viviani

“The work of an aeronautical technician carries great responsibility. Everything must be perfect, every procedure applied, and every tool in its place at the end of the job. It entails a mental as well as a practical approach.”

Current Job: I hold an EASA maintenance license and am currently employed as an experimental technician on Leonardo’s Kopter AW09 project. My job is to keep the helicopter airworthy by carrying out scheduled maintenance and correcting any defects that are found.

First Aviation Job:My first aviation job was at a flight school where I was hired as a maintenance assistant/helper. I worked on the R22, R44, and Cessna 172.

Favorite Helicopter:For its characteristics, its longevity, and its ability to operate in many sectors, my favorite helicopter is the H125, although the most beautiful shape of all remains that of the AW109.


How did you decide helicopter aviation was the career for you?

My grandfather was an airplane designer for [Italian aircraft manufacturer] Caproni; a friend of my mom was a former military pilot; and my [first] name was also the name of a dear family friend who did the same job as I do. Let’s say helicopters were my destiny! I’ve always been fascinated by this vehicle!

What are your career goals?

I’ve attained a good position in my career. I can boast of having worked in all sectors of the helicopter world, and I’m happy about the diversity of training that experience has afforded me. That said, I’d like to become a maintenance manager or a project manager. I’d also like to become an instructor.

Now, I’m a helicopter mechanic with an EASA AML [aircraft maintenance license] for Categories B1.3 (helicopter turbine engine) and B1.4 (helicopter piston engine). Soon, I’ll also become licensed for B1.2 (airplane piston engine) and B2 (avionics). And I’m taking lessons to obtain my PPL(H) [private pilot license for helicopters].

Additionally, I run my own company, Heliair.it, part time in Italy. We offer tourist flights, helitaxis, and aerial work. I also keep an Instagram page, @helitechnician, where I display my maintenance work and some of the helicopters I’ve worked on.

What advice would you give someone pursuing your career path?

My advice is to ask someone in the aviation industry to help you choose the best path based on their experience. Often, I’ve found, the road to training can be unnecessarily complicated. Talking with a professional in the industry, someone who’s been down the path already, can help you determine the right approach to take.

Tell us about your first experience with helicopters.

I was 5 years old when I saw a company promoting tourist helicopter flights. I remember my dad sat me in the front seat next to the pilot. I was silent for 5 minutes, overwhelmed by the sensations I was experiencing.

What still excites you about helicopter aviation?

This work is a passion. I like to see people express interest in helicopters and maybe ask for some information about them. One thing I love to do is ask kids if they want to take a picture on board. I make them go up, put the headset on, and turn on the master. Their smiles make the effort this occupation requires pay off.

The work of an aeronautical technician carries great responsibility. Everything must be perfect, every procedure applied, and every tool in its place at the end of the job. It entails a mental as well as a practical approach.

Knowing that a helicopter is flying because of my work can evoke in me the feeling I had as a child when I would look up at the sky hoping to see a helicopter go by.

What do you think poses the biggest threat to the helicopter industry?

Certainly the energy debate, fuel consumption, and the approval of [alternative] fuels.

Complete this sentence: I know I picked the right career when …

… talking to people, I see they’re fascinated by my work and my stories.

Complete this sentence: I love my job, but I’d rather work for a paper company in Scranton when …

… I feel my skills aren’t appreciated and I’m not heard; that could warrant going to work for a paper company. Aviation is hard work, and satisfaction can often be hard to come by.

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