Updated: Aug 4, 2021
That is exactly what I did... Why? Good question... I guess it was a combination of various factors and this genuine appetite to grow and to explore new horizons.
My name is Maxime Wauters. I am now 34 years old, father of a wonderful 6 years-old boy and engaged to a wonderful woman who supports me in all my initiatives and (sometimes crazy) projects... I live in rainy Belgium. And although this tiny country is quite insignificant to some, the fact that it is so small, yet so complex, and that it is not a very powerful nation does contribute to the fact that Belgians are known for being very enterprising, resourceful, flexible and versatile. Belgians have this capacity to adapt to complicated and sensitive situations and contexts, simply because the country itself is complicated and somewhat "sensitive".
For as long as I can remember, I have always wanted to be a pilot and to work in this fascinating industry. It took me years of hard work, of pain, of failures and of sacrifices (I'll write a post about it one day...) but I managed to make my way through it and get to where I am today. I am currently flying as a business jet pilot on an amazing aircraft, the Embraer Legacy 450/500 (as well as on it's evolved version, the Praetor 500/600). I recently upgraded to a Captain position, which is quite an important step in your pilot career... And Business Aviation is a unique yet very challenging industry. We are flying limousine drivers, in some ways... And the very nature of business aviation is to offer a top-of-the-line service to the passengers/customers. Whoever is able to either buy a jet (count between 3 and 70M USD/€) or to rent one (between 2000 and 20.000 USD/€ an hour) deserves an impeccable service.
We, as pilots, play a very important role in this... Not only do we have to "fly" the aircraft between A and B in a safe and efficient manner (by the way, business jet pilots and operators must comply with EXACTLY the same regulations as major airlines, no differences here, except that most regulations are actually written for major airlines and do not take the specificities of business aviation operations into consideration, but I'll write a post on that too in the near future...), we also have to play a commercial role towards the passengers/clients. We are often the only "face" that passengers see from the company that operates the flights. And of course, since business aviation is considered as a (V)VIP services, we also have to deal with special requests or with frequent changes in schedule. We offer an on-demand transportation service, which means that we fly whenever the clients want to fly and this can be quite challenging for your social life (if you are lucky enough to have one).
We also have to deal with last minute changes, combination of missions, night medical flights (business jets are often used for organ transport within Europe), long and complex duties (not knowing exactly when the passengers will depart again). This may all sound negative, but on the other hand, there are a lot of pro's. Most of the time, business jet pilots also benefit from VIP treatments (private airport terminals & lounges, high-end catering, fancy destinations and hotels, etc.) and we get to fly amazing aircraft like the one I am flying with is a marvel of technology and efficiency.
But besides flying, I have also always wanted to do "something" else. I've always loved management. Being able to play a role in an organisation and bring my contribution to the creation and implementation, or to the improvement of processes, with the ultimate goal of making the whole system safer and more efficient. That is why I started studying safety and risk management years ago... I have been working as Safety Manager for a major Flight School (while I was actually training to be a commercial pilot) and when I moved to a business jet company, I became safety manager there too. And this is a fascinating job (yep... I'll write on that too). I was lucky enough to also gain some interesting insights and experiences in (digital) marketing and corporate communication over the years.
I have been in this business for more than 15 years now (time flies... just like me) and I thought it was time to create my own company and see how I could continue to expand my network, increase my knowledge and skills by offering it to others. Some say it was a crazy move... I prefer to think it was a bold move, but time will tell.
We now live in a very complex world (especially if you consider aviation which tends to be over-regulated nowadays). The pace at which information is published and diffused goes way beyond our capacity to absorb it. Everything goes really fast and there's just a lot of... well, everything! But if you look at how fast the aviation industry has grown in just over a century and if you look at what's coming for the future of (air)mobility, I am convinced that innovation, safety and sustainability will be at the heart of most projects. And this is exactly what genuinely drives me!
I realise that this first blog post was a bit unstructured, but I'll get better with time.
Thank you for visiting this website and for reading me.
At the end of the day, I feel priviledged and lucky not to be where I am and to know offer my services and share my know-how under my own brand, CLIMAX.