On April 26th, the world celebrates International Pilots' Day, an occasion to honour the fearless individuals who navigate our skies with precision and skill. This day serves as a testament to their unwavering commitment to aviation safety and innovation, shaping the course of air travel worldwide.

As we observe International Pilots' Day, we have the privilege of engaging in a conversation with Jean Nuez, Campaign Manager within Airbus and former military paratrooper whose journey from the battlefield to the cockpit is a testament to his passion. Jean shared insights into his transition from military service to civilian aviation, highlighting the profound impact of passion and dedication on his life as a pilot.


What were you doing before joining Airbus?

I've had the honour of overseeing various sectors, notably within the Army armament programs  directorate. With a 23-year career in the military, including 18 and a half years among the paratroopers, I've gained unique expertise in the realm of airborne operations. My career path has led me to work within the full range of French Airborne units, especially in the role of Airborne domain Program officer. This encompassed the comprehensive management of airborne programmes, parachute operations, airdrops, helicopter insertions, rappelling, and rope suspensions operations. 

During this period my best souvenir goes toward the brother in arms working there. Working with Airbus to deliver the full operational capacity to the A400M, was a real commitment. I was very proud to achieve the simultaneous jump from both doors together with a static line parachute. 


How did you develop your passion for flying?

My passion for aviation began when I was very young. At the age of 19, I made my first jump during the dedicated conscript military parachute preparation. Later, as soon as I had the opportunity, I obtained my ULM (microligth aircraft) pilot's licence. After that, I took every opportunity to broaden my skills and finally got my pilot's licence. This passion has always been with me. I remember as a child pedalling to the airfield to watch the planes, dreaming of the day when I could be on board as a pilot.

Today, aviation remains a profound passion, demanding constant organisation to navigate through various elements essential to fly.  From weather conditions to aircraft availability, moreover, navigating the labyrinth of regulations, sometimes stringent, such as airspace management and aerodrome operations, adds another layer of complexity.


What do you like the most about flying?

Despite the many regulations that govern this activity to ensure everyone's safety, I think it's the feeling of freedom that makes it so captivating. We get to explore the sky as we please, with no pre-established route in front of us (but with a strict planning). With each flight, we learn to manage danger (threat and error management) and carefully evaluate how much risk we're willing to take. As pilots often say, "it's better to stay on the ground and regret not being in the air than the other way around". It sums up our state of mind very well. 

It's also while flying that I have the best memories, like one day when the weather wasn't kind  to my instructor and I, I was able to see what a rainbow looks like from the sky. I could see that from the air it wasn't an arc as we see it on the ground but a full circle and I couldn't believe it, it was incredible.


What do you think is the most important quality for a pilot?

As in many extreme fields, humility is the most important quality. You have to be able to constantly question yourself, to be able to push your limits but not go beyond them.


 What are you doing today at Airbus?

I'm a Sales manager, in charge of opportunity management, working in the satellite secured communications field, providing end-to-end satellite communication service solutions for my customers. I'm very passionate about this because it's satellite-based, the space dimension, something that continues to fascinate me and goes beyond the terrestrial. 

This role enables me to work on projects such as providing mobile satellite solutions to a large base of customers, but also contribute to the development of aero connectivity, including through rotor solution for rotary wing aircraft, with the PROTEUS modem

I'm grateful to Airbus for allowing me to link my passion and my work after my professional reconversion.


One piece of advice for someone who wants to get started?

The best advice I can give is to start as soon as you feel like it. You shouldn't stop at a financial barrier or listen to the people who will try to discourage you, because it's a passion and living for your passion is the aim of life. So even if it doesn't turn out to be the right thing for you, at least you'll have given it a go and won't have any regrets.