I was first introduced to flying in a helicopter at the tender age of 5 months. It was the month of August in 1979. We took off from the aerodrome in San Vittore (at least that’s what they told me!) to arrive in the mountains of San Abbondio for holiday. But the pilot, because of a strong thunderstorm, was forced to land (and “abandon us”) on a meadow near the village of Fosano.
It was raining hard, so they covered me with plastic to keep me dry. We were received by a nice family in their home, who were started by the landing just a few meters from their house and quickly came to our rescue under the pouring rain.
They sheltered us from the rain and let my parents heat a bottle for me. Unaware of the happenings of the day, I was probably thinking only of my nurishing, warm milk. These nice people were aunt and uncle of the man who would later became one of my best friends. What a small world! I don’t know yet, and I may never know, if the sub-conscious trauma of that experience in a helicopter left a permanent mark on me.

But let’s start with my history…

My name is Silvio Pini, born in Sorengo, Switzerland on March 6th, 1979, third of three children to Gianni and Mariangela. My two older sisters are named Stefania and Claudia.

I grew up in Bellinzona, where I attended school. As a boy I expressed a passion for helicopters. When I spent weekends in the mountains of San Abbondio, where my father still lives, I was fascinated by the sight of these flying machines that carried building material for the rustic houses in the area. I dreamed of being able to pilot a helicopter when I playfully sat down in my mother’s washing basket.

You must know that I dreamed of two professions as a child. The first, as you can imagine, was helicopter pilot, while the second was garbageman, precisely the one who rides on the back of a garbagetruck and jumps down to empty containers into the truck. Fate had it that I would eventually opt for the first!

Let’s return to my history…

After finishing compulsory education, I earned a professional technical diploma as an electromechanic. After finishing that chapter, I enlisted in the Swiss army for basic training, as every young Swiss must do. That was the summer of 1998.

During those years my dream of flying a helicopter was put on hold! After finishing the four months of mandatory basic training, I interviewed with a few helicopter transport companies. I knew exactly what I wanted to do at that point of my life. A Swiss company based at the Locarno airport hired me as flight assistant shortly thereafter.

After a few months of work, I began flight school on July 16th at the age of 21.

As the months passed, the more I realized how strong my passion for helicopters was. Much to my parents’ and friends’ disbelief, I chose to dedicate myself to study rather than parties. That had never happened in my life. The helicopter took first priority in my life.

After one year and a half of pleasant sacrifice, I received the commercial license for helicopters on March 8th, two days after my 23rd birthday. It was the best gift possible!

Unpleasant professional circumstances during the next few months forced me to seek employment in another company. I was hired by the Company of my instructor, who offered me rapid professional growth, and more importantly, the opportunity to travel (and to fly!) throughout the world while performing a variety of interesting tasks.

After seven years I decided to change and I started to look for another Company because the needed was new challenges and new adventures. In April 2010 I joined a really big Company leader in the aeronautical field.

I currently live in Italy, and my love for flying and for the helicopter luckily continues to grow…