Hermann's dream of flying
From biking pro to helicopter pilot
Hermann Eder is a professional helicopter pilot. He has been flying an AS350 Ecureuil VIP helicopter for “Sennair“, based at Zell Airport, for a year now. Nothing special really ... But Hermann Eder is only 25 years old and is one of the youngest professional pilots flying this type of helicopter. Who is Hermann Eder, the young man who became a helicopter pilot in record time?
The door of the café opens and my interview partner enters and introduces himself with youthful vigour. At first, my mind is trying to combine the boyish appearance of the man opposite me with the work of a pilot. Whether he always wanted to become a pilot, I want to know. And over a cappuccino he starts telling me. Growing up in the Zell am See region, Hermann Eder’s sporty focus was on biking in all its varieties – from racing cycling, downhill biking to dirt and mountain biking. “As long as it was faster than walking“, he laughs and tells me how he and his friends of the “Lahn Valley Crew“ built their own trails in front of the house. But he always dreamt about flying because, even as a child, Hermann knew: ”I want to become a helicopter pilot.“
Childhood heroes: the stars of Medicopter
If you want, you may want to claim that “Medicoper 117 - Jeder Einsatz zählt“, a TV series in the 90s, is the reason why Hermann Eder controls a 683 PS-strong turbine in the air today. He says: “As I was still at primary school, I was not allowed to stay up late to watch the programme. My mother recorded it for me. I went straight to the TV as soon as I got in from school – even before I had my lunch. I was so fascinated by the helicopter – the plot of the programme wasn’t really what I was interested in.“ He kept dreaming about flying even though his focus had shifted to his sporty hobby - biking. “After finishing my A levels, I went to work on film sets in California and Canada for a few months. This was the time when it suddenly hit me: ‘If I don’t realise my dream of flying now, then it will never come true!’ I already knew that my career would not be in the bike industry. Only the dream of flying was on my mind!“
Training in record time
So on his return to Upper Austria, he enrolled to be trained as a professional helicopter pilot. Within a record time of eight months, Hermann Eder gained the license for Europe – the American license for professional pilots was subsequently achieved during a stay in Florida later on. But he hit the real jackpot shortly after his final exam. “I just had my license for two days when I heard that the proprietor of the Ingolstädter Haus had bought a helicopter. So, I put my hiking boots on and climbed four hours up to the hut. I asked Rudolf Senninger straight whether I can join one of the flights. And shortly after, I sat in the helicopter together with him. This was the start of a great friendship and Rudi is one of the coolest guys I have ever met. He is always in a good mood and he is an optimist. In 2016, we decided to operate the helicopter together and Rudi founded the ‘Sennair’ helicopter company where I work now“, explains Hermann Eder.
A sunsrise still amazes me
Today, Hermann Eder flies VIP shuttles – to ski world cup races or motor grand prix for example. He turns a wedding into an unforgettable event with a helicopter flight, goes on flights to take aerial photos or takes guests from their hotel to their private jet or a gourmet dinner. “Of course, my guests are amazed when the slowly realise that I am not only their shuttle chauffeur to the airport but also their pilot. Even though I have been flying across Lake Zell countless times by now – a flight into the sunrise or sunset high above my native home is still something very special to me. When the Kitzsteinhorn and the Schmittenhöhe are illuminated by the first sunlight and the lake gleams in a reddish colour – this is a sight you just can’t compare. To me, it’s a privilege to be able to perform my job directly at my front door“, so the young pilot. Coming to the end of our interview, I ask what his best flight was. Hermann Eder answers immediately: “Actually, all flights are wonderful. But taking my 87-year old granddad on a flight for the first time was definitely something very special.“
Even though flying doesn’t leave Hermann Eder much time for anything else, being a helicopter pilot is still his absolute dream job. He says: “I go to work by racing cycle in the morning or dive into Lake Zell during the day. My home offers plenty of wonderful opportunities! I couldn’t imagine growing old anywhere else but in Zell am See-Kaprun!“