Waldek was the third generation to work the tarmac at Warsaw Airport. Also, his father performed aircraft inspections, as well, as part of line and base maintenance.
– Since I was a little kid, I used to come to the airport with my father. Additionally, my uncle and my father both worked on airplanes so all the conversations at home were about aviation.
After 50 years Waldek still is working at the same airport. In short – he still wants more and more.
Wojciech Kaczor founded Linetech in 2011 after he had previously worked with Waldek in another MRO. After working as an aircraft mechanic for a few years, he left for Germany to set up his own MRO in Poland.
– As a matter of fact, I had no idea he owned this company. I met him on the airport apron in his new car while he was doing line maintenance on an airplane. Then, we started discussing a possible collaboration, and Wojtek offered me to work for him after hours. Since my employers agreed, I helped him as much as I could – aircraft mechanic adds.
We should mention that Waldek trained generations of mechanics at Linetech who still work there today. Even the boss was trained by Waldek at the beginning of his career.
– The older mechanics and I tried our best to give him (Wojtek) everything we knew about working on airplanes. He was a young worker then, just out of school, and we gave him as much information as we could – Waldek comments.
Waldek has flown all over Europe and beyond over his long career, but despite his extensive travel, as he says he has never been away for more than 3 months at a time.
– Those days, fixing a defect on a flight outside of Warsaw gave you a career boost. If you proved that you could handle AOG flights, you could then apply for charter flights, which was well-paid – recalls our hero.
As a charter flight, you fly a plane from point A to point B. Once the plane gets to its destination, mechanics inspect it, refuel it, refill its fluids, and fix any faults that developed during the flight. They then secure it and prepare it for its layover.
This is how Waldek remembers his Alaska charter flight:
– The trip was great mainly because it was my first charter on the Ile-62. We were taking sailors to Warsaw. Since the runway in Warsaw was being repaired at the time, we were unable to carry all the fuel we could carry, so we landed in Goteborg, and from Goteborg, we flew to Montreal.Next day, we flew to Golovin, Alaska, where we left the sailors, spent the night, and returned to Warsaw. As a result, I was away from home for four days, and got an allowance equal to half of half-yearly salary.
During his first ten years as an aircraft mechanic, Waldek worked in a hangar, where he performed base maintenance on aircraft.
– Those days, the hangars serviced turboprop and jet aircraft, respectively. For ten years I was working on turboprop aircraft, namely, An-24 and Il-18. After that time I wanted 'something more’, but not because I was bored. I simply wanted to learn how line maintenance worked. So I decided to work in the take-off department, where my colleagues serviced aircraft before takeoff and after arrival in Warsaw. On the line, I had a chance to gain new experiences, meet more people. It was a completely different experience for me than what I had been doing before – emphasising the mechanic.
Waldek’s first steps in aviation were taking off in Soviet aircraft like the Il-62. He believes that growth in technology has made the job of aircraft mechanics much easier over the years.
– The aircraft we fly today are significantly different from Soviet equipment. Airbus and Boeing aircraft are simply better – they are easier to operate. They have computer systems, and computers. There is a lot of work and thinking that goes into them.
Waldek is still captivated by the Soviet aircraft on which he began his training, however, he now prefers working on western aircraft.
– A Boeing 737 was the first aircraft I got to know directly from the manufacturer. During a three-month course in Seattle, I got to know the inside of this aircraft. I am also licensed for other aircraft, but today Boeing 737s are my favourite – it is a very nice plane to work on – it gives a lot of fun – says Waldek with a smile.
Waldek told us several times he loves his job not just because he can fulfill his passion for it. It’s more than that.
– My career aspiration was always to work on planes. But the thing I value most about this job is the relationships I’ve built here. What I have enjoyed most about this job is getting to know so many different people. I have found myself here very well over the years, and I still do. The positive atmosphere here makes collaboration with these people pleasant and productive. I hope they have good memories of working with me.
In the end, we asked Waldek if he would turn back time and invest in aviation a second time. He replied, –Aviation is in my blood. Therefore, if I could choose a second time, it would be the same.