Dario Novak, B1/B2 Licensed Engineer working at Direct Maintenance station in Hamburg, has been part of our team for a little over a year – but his experience in aviation goes way beyond. Get to know him better and learn about his path to working with us – as well as about a few of his other skills outside the aviation.
What was your path to aviation industry?
My aviation path started in March 2007 with Adria Airways, a former Slovenian flag carrier in Slovenia, my home place.
And then, my first contact with an airplane was in hangar during base maintenance where I started to work as a non-licensed mechanic with a B2 team on Bombardier CRJ-200. I had no previous knowledge or experience in aviation and never saw an airplane that close. That was a totally new world to me! 3 years later, I gained my basic B2 license and after that my type ratings followed. Now I hold 5 type ratings on B1/B2 license – it makes me feel very fortunate having narrow-body, widebody and turboprop on it, so only a supersonic is missing now!
I am utterly grateful to all who supported me at the start of my career and to all B1 and B2 engineers who taught me working skills, shared their technical knowledge for every airplane system I asked about and let me press those buttons in the flight deck to learn what they do. I learned along my path so for my first steps, I will always put them on the top place as my best mentors!
How long have you been part of Direct Maintenance?
I met our AMS based colleague Danny who was working at the time in HAM in June 2019. I happened to be in the hangar at that time as I had AOG on the airplane I was working on. I went to the Direct Maintenance office to ask for some tools, and the short meeting ended up with me having a business card from our COO Erik Verwijmeren. Erik, and later Gino (HAM maintenance manager), were my first contacts with Direct Maintenance and I would like to thank them for giving me an opportunity to join the team and of course, Vivien (our HR manager) who handed me that contract on October 2019! So – it has been already a memorable ride for me.
What were the main challenges for you in the past year? How did you cope with those challenges?
I just finished my Boeing 777 training in Paris at the end of 2019 and two weeks later I was on my way to the UK for Airbus A380 training. The start was great, and nobody ever thought of what was waiting for us in the next months. I was in Bangkok at the time, finishing my practical training on A380 and was about to fly to Malaysia for short holidays with my wife when we found out our tickets were cancelled due to outbreak of the pandemic. So, the quest to get a flight ticket back home started. Somehow, we managed to get them and when we came back home, I was literally off the work from the end of March until September. Time in between was hard due to lack of work and uncertainty, but I occupied myself with studying German and Ukrainian language, reading some aircraft materials, cooking and working on my photography skills, visiting my family whenever was possible. Later in October 2020 things came in some sort of normality. I feel extremely lucky that besides the current ongoing crisis, worldwide travel restrictions, business drop, etc., seeing my ex-colleagues with a tremendous amount of experience and knowledge in aviation losing their jobs – I was able to keep mine. All I wish from now on is that everything comes back to normal and everyone gets their jobs back.
What would you name as your main professional achievement of the past year?
Hard to say as certifying my first Boeing 777 as a B1 engineer or gaining an Airbus A380 B1/B2 license has a similar weight for me: these are aircraft I had never imagined I could ever work on and especially being able to certify a release to service for them. The previous airplane I worked on before joining Direct Maintenance was ATR 42/72 turboprop – don’t get me wrong, that’s the airplane I love and enjoy working on it a lot, but the difference is obvious!
What do you enjoy the most when working at Direct Maintenance?
I like the fact we can support each other at other stations too. Just seeing the biggest airplane arriving and departing at Hamburg Airport makes you feel great: I like knowing you are in charge to accept all the challenges it brings, keeping it airworthy in pretty short turnaround. I feel honored to be in that position.
Do you have any hobbies or special interests that helps you to relax after busy day at work?
I think a nice cup of espresso is all I need. If I tell you that I need some special interest to relax after a busy day at work, our AMS and MST team of engineers will start laughing as they are very busy!
I also like photography, either with a drone or my DSLR camera and, apart from the airport I like to work in the kitchen (my wife doesn’t complain) as I enjoy cooking. A fun fact: besides all certificates, I hold in aviation I also hold a barista certificate as I like everything about coffee except mixing it with milk or drinking filtered one!