The Helicopter Mechanic Michello Ongaro is one of those people who easily attract affection and friendship from people. The Curitiba native arrived at Bacacheri Airport, in the capital, as an aircraft painting assistant. Some time later, he became responsible for serving the Military Police Air Group (Graer), in Joinville, Santa Catarina.
Michello was responsible for keeping the helicopters up to date to respond to rescues and police incidents throughout the north of Santa Catarina. Currently, he works fortnight in Curitiba and Camboriú (SC). When he is free, in Joinville, he is at the mini workshop he set up at home to restore old bicycles and motorcycles.
This is another passion, which was born in 2009, after a challenge launched between friends. The mechanic has already become famous in Joinville because of this, when he spoke a little about his extra-Helisul skills on television. A report was recorded and shown by the Tribuna do Povo program, on NDTV – an affiliate of RIC Record in the municipality, showing some models of bicycles restored by Michello.
Watch the report with Michello Ongaro
Even the news presenter surrendered to our collaborator’s friendliness and talent. “This is gift, it is more than passion. […] Not to mention that he is a fantastic human being, an extremely kind, polite, very competent guy there at Graer, loved by everyone. Boca is the man. […] Congratulations on the excellent work you do, for being such a generous person”, said Ricardo Moreira, who anchored the program at the time, at the end of the report.
Indeed, Boca can say ‘it’s the man’. He is so dear and loved that he even received a ‘visit’ from a Helisul helicopter in his backyard, in Colombo, in an area practically on the border with the municipality of Bocaiúva do Sul (PR). It was shortly after I started working at the company.
A very unusual situation, says Michello. He doesn’t remember exactly, but it happened between 1987 and 1988. “A Helisul helicopter, a Hughes 500, took off for São Paulo, had a breakdown and landed at the back of my house”, recalls the mechanic. He also remembers that it was there where he met commanders Eloy and Zanon.
“It was really funny. I got all silly when I saw the bosses. Was cool. Thank God it was just a breakdown, a failure in a hose. The pilot landed with the helicopter under control. My mother’s land was a ‘campão’ where the kids played ball.”
The Helisul team was equally surprised by Michello’s presence at the site, when they went to pick up the aircraft by truck the next day, to take it back to Bacacheri Airport . The device had to stay overnight on site, ‘supervised’ by the mechanic. “What are you doing there, man, they asked. I said, ‘I live here’. It was pretty funny.”
It was then that Michello gained the nickname of Bocaiúva, but affectionately called Boca.
To answer a call from the company, the mechanic left Curitiba and moved to Joinville 20 years ago. In Santa Catarina, he lives with his wife, Beatriz, and their youngest daughter, Marjorie, 4 years old. Boca is also the father of Maria Eduarda, 21, who was one of the participants in the first group of young apprentices at Helisul.
He doesn’t regret the change of state and says he feels very happy in the city that welcomed him two decades ago. “I really like Joinville. I did well here. It’s a peaceful, quiet city,” he says.
With so many years working for Helisul, since he was 15, Michello believes he wouldn’t know how to work anywhere else. And he still praises his colleagues and the company.
“I got so used to it. I’m friends with everyone, everyone knows me. I worked in Foz restoring a helicopter with the group there, Celso, Jair, Carlos – our boss was a mechanic. I saw all those kids grow up. I really like Helisul. She is not a company, she is a mother. That’s why I can’t see myself working anywhere else. I received invitations, but I didn’t want to”, he reveals.
It’s the realization of a passion that started in childhood, without any influence, either from family or other people I know. “I made wooden things at home to play with, always obsessed with helicopters and planes, but more so with helicopters. There was a time when I even thought about driving, but my thing is mechanics”, says the mechanic.
And Michello really likes to solve a problem. “What I like most is treating the breakdown. Takes the head a little, but it’s tastier. But the service as a whole is cool, disassembling the whole ‘face’, all the components, checking and assembling. It’s a cool puzzle.”