Off to a flying start

Text: Mariliis Pinn Photos: Kaspar Vaher, Nordica Published: 12 / March / 2018

Captain Kaspar Vaher started his career as a pilot by flying model airplanes. His dream was to become captain of a Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Vaher is also held in very high esteem among colleagues for seeing the bigger picture on how to make the airline better.

Piloot Haeaedemeestelt Off to a Flying Start Nordica flyNordica 980x500

Vaher made his maiden solo flight at the age of 17

Vaher, who made his maiden solo flight at the age of 17, has been in aviation since 2006. "After graduating from the Estonian Aviation Academy, I was offered a job in commercial aviation in Germany, which gave me a lot of valuable experience. At the beginning of this year I got an interesting offer to work at Nordica. I decided to accept the offer because flying from home is the best feeling," says Vaher.

Vaher comes from Haademeeste (which is Estonian for ‘good men’). Although he grew up by the sea and his grandfather was a fisherman, he never considered becoming a fisherman or sea captain.

"I was in sixth grade when my mother first asked me what I wanted to be. My answer was simple: a pilot. So I joined the model aircraft building club in the Pärnu Young Technicians school," he says. Then he attended the pilot class in the flight academy at Nõo Reaalgumnaasium, as well as training courses in the UK, Germany and the US.

“From an early age I wanted to know in detail how even the most complex electrical and technical devices operate - so aircraft and aviation was a challenge," he says.


CRJ700ER Nordica flyNordica 980x500

What kind of an aircraft You would like to be

"A Bombardier CRJ700. I sense this aircraft in a good way. Generally, a pilot should sense the aircraft he is flying. He should become part of the plane, and you get the best sense if you spend a lot of time together in the air."

He adds: "It would be great to own a training fighter such as an Alpha Jet or an L-39. Or an Extra 330, which is designed for acrobatic manoeuvres. You can fly it any way you like: upside, on the side, straight up or straight down. It’s also well designed, making it an ideal aircraft for spending a weekend with the wife or friends."

You can always learn something new

It's every pilot's dream to one day become the captain of a Boeing Dreamliner or Airbus A380. You can always learn something new.

"At the end of a working day, I think and analyse how I can improve. There are a few steps between the current Bombardier CRJ and a Dreamliner," he says, adding: "Let's be realistic and see what the future holds."

"But it would be great to fly direct from Tallinn to Thailand or Las Vegas for a holiday, right?"

Visually, the CRJ looks very nice and Nordica's livery makes it even more fantastic, of course

Piloot Haademeestelt Kaspar Vaher Nordica flyNordica 980x500

What are the best and worst qualities of a Bombardier CRJ700?

“The CRJ likes to fly fast. The higher the speed, the more stable the aircraft. Passengers should not be worried - we don't break the sound barrier," he notes.

"I also like that the CRJ has its engines at the rear and attached to the body, which is not conventional in airplane design. It means that if you have an engine failure, the torque around the vertical axis will be smaller and it would be easier to control the aircraft with one working engine. Visually, the CRJ looks very nice and Nordica's livery makes it even more fantastic, of course."

Some passengers may think that, in the era of autopilots, the captain's main job is to welcome passengers and wish them goodbye. 

"I have heard such views and don't mind. Real life is very different. Take, for instance, cruise control in cars: you can switch it on in central Tallinn and ask it to take you to Berlin, but it will not happen. Also, an aircraft is in a three-dimensional space – you cannot pull over, park on the roadside and wait for assistance. Autopilot does mechanical work so the pilot is not hands-on all the time, but it needs to be told the flight and navigation details, which must also be checked."

Vaher adds that the biggest load on pilots is the responsibility and being away from home. "Flying is only part of what a pilot does. My daily obligation is to make sure that the documentation is in order, that everything complies with the rules, to manage the on-board crew, and ensure that passengers and crew feel well. In any weather," he concludes.

Article was published in Nordica´s in-flight magazine Time Flies  (summer 2016).