Welcome to the first of many NHV Employee Spotlight Features, with the goal of shining a spotlight on the pivotal role our employees play at NHV, including; their journeys so far, and how NHV aims to create an innovative, inclusive and dynamic workforce.
Our next feature is from one of our AW169 Technical Pilots, based in Blackpool. He shares his advice about working in the industry and top tips to enjoying your job!
Before we start, can you tell us 3 Fun Facts about you:
1. I once had a pet duck. For most of its life I thought it was male!
2. I was once told I looked like Kiera Knightley when I dressed up as a woman on a night out. (I can’t let you see those pictures unfortunately).
3. I live in a van while on shift at Blackpool.
Can you tell us a little bit about your background and who you are?
I’m the middle of 5 siblings. I grew up on a farm. After secondary school I travelled around the world for a year (US, Canada, Fiji, New Zealand, Australia, Thailand, Singapore and India). At this point in my life, I really wanted to learn to fly but money was an issue.
I moved back home with the parents and started driving lorries as a means of funding my future career. Once I got my commercial licence, I gained a flight instructor rating and began teaching people to fly in Robinson Helicopters predominately around Northamptonshire but the work took me as far afield as Mallorca for a short while. The first few years were split between driving lorries and flight instructing to earn a living. I really loved flight instructing as it was really interesting discovering how different people learn in different environments and adapting my teaching technique to cater for this. It also gave me a great opportunity to develop my flying skills.
After 6 and a half years of instructing I got a job flying the Lincolnshire Nottinghamshire Air Ambulance. This job was very interesting looking at how the aviation and medical worlds interact with one another. It surprised me to see the number of areas the two industries overlapped. SOP’s, mission debriefs and crew health monitoring to name a few. The aircraft Lincs and Notts used was the AW169 which is the aircraft I’m flying to this day out of Blackpool for NHV.
What led you to pursue a career in Aviation?
I had a friend at school who was learning to fly in a Cessna 150. I would say he got me interested in flying but it wasn’t until I took a pleasure flight in a Jet Ranger over the farm I grew up on, that I realised my love was for helicopters.
What do you find exciting about the industry and what is something specific about your role at NHV that you love doing?
Flying the aircraft has to be the exciting aspect. Every time I fly, I'm looking at how I can improve on the last flight. Thankfully I started this career making plenty of mistakes, so plenty of room to improve flight after flight.
Can you tell us a bit about a favourite project or experience that you’ve had at NHV?
Last year we helped out with a crew change on a ship that was servicing the Morcombe Bay Wind Turbines. This gave me an opportunity to take a look at these offshore wind turbines up close.
How do you define success?
I think if you can find the fun in what you do, you’re on the right path to success.
What are some of the things that you like to do, outside of work?
I like to enter a couple of triathlons each year which encourages me to keep fit outside of work.
What are some words of advice you would give to others who are considering pursuing a career in Aviation?
Never stop learning. There’s always more information to consume surrounding these aircraft and the industry. The moment you stop learning, stop flying.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
I’ve been very lucky to experience what I have over the last 10 or so years I've been flying and I look forward to experiencing more over the next 10.
Thank you Patrick, that was a really engaging interview! :)