A little over two years ago, Commander Ronaldo Vitale returned to be part of the Helisul Aviação team, as manager of the Fixed Base Operator (FBO) service center in Congonhas, in the capital of São Paulo, after a previous stint as a pilot .
Like many boys of his generation, the aviator idealized having this profession from a very young age. But, it wasn’t just another cliché, which changes direction as time goes by, after all, he actually concluded all stages of the process and performed – happily – the function.
It is also true that Vitale was greatly influenced by his father, the air taxi pilot Clóvis Vitale, who died in 1998. But that wasn’t ‘only’ that, as he himself says. It was love at first sight.
“Since I was a child, when I saw an aircraft for the first time, I fell in love. It was something that had always been present in my life, I knew the pros and cons. Aviation is a demanding career. We often have to travel, stay away. I missed my father a lot”, reveals the commander.
Around the age of 13, the verdict came. “I don’t know what happened, I decided I wanted to be a pilot. I fell in love with the profession, with flying, ”he says. The commander believes that, even if the father did not have this career, he would probably still have. “It was very strong when I decided to be a pilot. I had not the slightest doubt.”
Vitale arrived at Helisul in 2006, ‘hitchhiking’ with a Globocop, a helicopter used by TV Globo to capture aerial images and coverage in real time. That year, Helisul took over the operation contract, which until then had been signed with the former company where the commander worked.
“I ended up going along and, from then on, I worked in this operation until 2016”, says the aviator. Vitale had to take a break from aviation due to a health problem and was out of the company for two years. During this interval, the commander perfected his knowledge as a professional. He did a degree in management processes. “I went to learn a little more about how the corporate world works.”
Vitale returned to Helisul in September 2018. He had to leave his passion for flying helicopters at rest, along with the best memories, to take over as manager of the Congonhas hangar.
“For me, working at Helisul as a pilot was a very good experience. One of the best moments of my professional life. The best company I’ve ever worked for, the most structured, market leader. I am very proud to work for a company of this size”, says the aviator.
Working on dry land since 2018, Vitale has commanded a team of almost 30 people at the FBO, who work on the runway, reception, passenger and crew transfer vans and administration. According to him, the return to the new function presented Helisul as an even more structured company.
“It is in an increasingly interesting growth process. And, for me, it is a challenge, because I come from a very different activity and I took over a hangar at one of the most important airports in Brazil”, says the commander.
He took the opportunity to praise the team for their daily commitment to operations. “I count on everyone’s support, I learn a lot from everyone every day. We have a very good team here”, he celebrates.
The passion for helicopters
Vitale has 25 years of experience as an aviator. The first instruction flight was in 1987 and the professional debut was in 1990. The captain initially worked as a flight instructor at Aeroclube de São Paulo, where he held the position for seven years.
It was during this period that Vitale’s passion for helicopters was born. He took a pilot course in 1993, aboard a BELL 47 G, and never left. After he started working with helicopters, the plane was practically abandoned, making few flights after that.
Vitale became a helicopter flight instructor as well and even worked for an air taxi company. “The first company I worked for was related to the reporting area. He was the Air Reporter for Rádio Bandeirantes, in São Paulo. Afterwards, I returned to flight instruction and, in 1997, I started working in an air taxi in São Paulo”.
During this period, Vitale always had the helicopter as a work tool and faithful companion. “I identified with the helicopter even more than with the plane. It’s a type of flight that I really like. The type of operation I did here at Helisul, for television, gave me great pleasure. Every day is a different routine.”
The commander is also enchanted by the power of freedom that the helicopter allows. “You land on a football field, you fly still, lower. It’s a flight you enjoy more and it’s an operation that, in a way, demands a lot from the pilot. The plane also demands it, but in a different way. I identify more with operating a helicopter, because of its versatility”, he says.
A graduate of schools in the capital and countryside of São Paulo, Vitale lives with his wife and daughters, one aged 19 and the other aged 17 (and who are not thinking of pursuing an aviation career). The eldest is studying Pharmacy at college and the youngest has just finished high school. “Her dream is to work as an actress, in this area of arts. She likes it a lot”, flatters her father.