Aviation Academy

Floris Valk as Operations Manager @ CHC Helicopter Netherlands

Posted at: 3 Feb 2022 | Faculty of Technology

In 2019 Floris graduated from the Aviation Logistics track. Shortly after that, Floris started working at KLM Ground Services as an Integrated Safety & Compliance Officer. Three months later he was able to return to the company where he did his graduation research, CHC Helicopter Netherlands. Currently he is active there as Operations Manager. He will tell us something about his experiences after graduation and his outlook on the future.

If this isn’t your first job since graduating: what were your other jobs at which companies?

When I graduated, I couldn’t join CHC unfortunately due to a reorganization. Shortly after, I joined KLM Ground Service as an Integrated Safety & Compliance Officer.

How did you get your current job?

After 3 months of working at KLM, COVID became just a small issue…. I was lucky enough that CHC just created the vacancy for my current job. The job itself however is one I was lucky enough to help create myself during my graduation research at CHC.

What are your daily operations?

I currently work in the CHC Helicopter Netherlands Integrated Operations Centre (IOC). The IOC is responsible for planning, coordinating, and analyzing all operations that take place under the CHC Helicopter Netherlands Air Operator Certificate. Customers contact us for their service requests, varying from ground handling to flight operations and maintenance. Also, during disruptions (e.g. weather, AOG’s etc.), the IOC is the coordination center for communications to all stakeholders of our operations.

When I get into the office, the first deal of business is to get coffee of course. Once everything is started up, our team discusses what has happened over the weekend (e.g. special flights, ad-hoc flights etc.). After discussions, we analyze all of the data from flight operations and process the data. Next to analyzing the data, we also check if any customers have sent us service requests. If that is the case, we plan and book the requests into the relevant system and confirm to our customers that their service requests have been confirmed by us.

During the rest of the day we do a variety of things. The IOC work differs per member as well. Some of our team members are focused on the daily operations and work hand in hand with pilots and ground handlers to ensure all operations are executed correctly and on time, some are focused on coordinating maintenance activities and our fleet of helicopters, whereas others are responsible for contract management and customer service.

As an Operations Manager, you are involved or at least aware of all bits and pieces that the individual team members do on a daily basis. When necessary, me and my colleague Operations Manager are responsible for making most operational decisions, also the ones that are complex due to stakeholder requirements.

What do you like the most at your job?

What I like most about my job is the broad scope of work. One part of the day I am in customer meetings, whereas the next part of the day I am scheduling flight crew. The fact that I work in a multidisciplinary department gives me a very broad perspective of all operations required to send our helicopters up in the air conform our operational standards. The fact that I am co-responsible for making decisions together with the team when it comes to all of our operations, is really exciting.

I have also been working on projects that include working with our other business units and corporate staff. For example, I have been working closely with our commercial department to operate our helicopters out of France. Visiting airports and determining operational procedures for these projects is something I enjoy every time. Once operations start and you see the first flight of the project taking-off, you get an unimaginable boost of energy out of it. The team effort in making it all work is what I do it for.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

In five years, I still see myself working at CHC. I will change jobs within CHC in the very near future and I am looking forward to keep adding value to CHC in my new role. I hope I can do a formal announcement soon and perhaps tell you all about it during a Friday morning lecture or something. Furthermore, I also hope to have a masters’ degree in five years.

What do you like the most from your education that helps you out currently in your work?

What I liked most about my education at the Aviation Academy was working in project teams and combining expertise of every team member. Also, the broad scope of projects helped to get understanding of complete supply chains. This actually helps a lot during my work nowadays. Also, the theoretical background helps in introducing new solutions to certain issues.

Despite the fact that it is not the most popular course of the curriculum, I do acknowledge that the Aviation Laws and Regulations (W&R) course is a pretty important one. Once you start working in the aviation sector you constantly use laws and regulations in your daily job. Therefore, some unwanted advice from my side: don’t underestimate the importance of aviation laws and regulations.

Are you still connected with the Aviation Academy?

I am still connected to the Aviation Academy in the form of guiding two interns at CHC. However, I would love to see more collaboration between the Aviation Academy and the helicopter industry. I hope I can personally contribute to making more students aware of this different field of aviation operations and perhaps even work together with the HvA to make it part of the curriculum in the future.