Cpt. D.T. Ververelis, is a very famous Greek helicopter pilot not only in Greece but all over the world. His nickname is “The Wizard.” He is the first helicopter pilot in Greece who performs a televised full loop with a helicopter. He has 17 years of experience and he is very successful in what he does. Dimitris began experimenting with unusual maneuvers in 2005 when someone told him that the helicopters have limited strength.
I had a chance to meet him at the Kavala Air Sea Show this year. He did a very interesting performance where the audience was able to hear his conversation with the narrator of the show, the famous Greek comedian Giannis Servetas, during his performance. This is when we all in the audience understood that Dimitris Ververelis is not only one of the best helicopter pilots we have ever seen and expert in helobatic, but that he is also a man with a great sense of humor.
At the end of his performance he got an extremely warm applause. His air displays often incorporate backward movements with quick changes of heading, back and front pirouettes, 90° climbs, 360° vertical dives, dog turns and full down autorotations.
Autorotation is a state of flight in which the main rotor system of a helicopter turns by the action of air moving up through the rotor, as with an autogyro, rather than engine power driving the rotor. The most common use of autorotation in helicopters is to safely land the aircraft in the event of an engine failure or tail-rotor failure. It is a common emergency procedure taught to helicopter pilots as part of their training.
The word ”helobatic” which is the way of his performing is used for unusual and extreme helicopter maneuvers. It is hard for me to explain all this technical information about his performance, you have to attend some of the air shows where he performs to really understood what I am talking about. You can check this video to have a small glance.
You can follow him on his facebook page
or on his official website
There you can find out where he is going to perform next. He is usually performing every year at the Athens Flying Week, at the Tanagra Air Base, the largest air event in Greece, since it started in 2012. This year the show will take a place as usual at the Tanagra Air Base, 16 & 17 September 2017.
Also, for the last two years he participates at the Kavala Airsea show at the city of Kavala in Greece.
After the end of the first day show where I had a chance to watch his performance, he came to the event area where all participants had their stands to meet the audience and sign the autographs. I was waiting for a quite time to approach him. This is when I understood that he was a kids favorite performer. Hundreds of kids together with their parents were waiting in the line to meet him and take a picture with him.
He was pleasant, smiling and very patient with his audience. There was not any indication of tiredness on his face, even though he just performed a very difficult and tough flight. I was wondering from where this man draws so much energy.
I didn’t want to bother him with many questions that night, I was also tired and kind of dizzy from standing on the sun all day. We had a chance to talk the next day at the closing ceremony where we agreed for an interview in the near future. He said he would be happy to answer all of my questions.
I found out that he became a helicopter pilot in 1998. He served in the Hellenic Army Special Forces. After, he went to United States where he got his commercial helicopter license. He continued to train in countries including France, United Kingdom, Ukraine and South Africa.That is how he became a certified flight instructor.
In 1999 he founded GreekHelicopters.gr. Since 2004 he is a flight instructor at Dekeleia Aeroclub in Tatoi – Athens.
Since 2014, Dimitris Ververelis flies the Eurocopter (now Airbus Helicopters) EC120 Colibri with the colors of Vostok Europe.
VOSTOK-EUROPE GREECE chose him in 2014 as their brand ambassador and they are his main sponsor.
He also has Technical support of the official agent Aeroservices SA Airbus Helicopters in Greece from 2014.
Since Dimitris Ververelis is not an ordinary man, I had to come up with an extraordinary interview questions for an extraordinary man.
There was no need to spend a lot of time with him to immediately realize that he is a very wise man from who we can learn a lot. His strength and wisdom reminded me of ancient Greek philosophers, so I decided to make a questionnaire based on the quotes of some famous ancient Greek philosophers. I believe that this is something that is going to suit him very well.
I already informed you about the most important things regarding his career path and his work. So my intention, through this interview is to show you who is Dimitris Ververelis as a person and what we can learn from him and from his point of view and his perspective on the various fields of life in general.
So let’s start with an interview.
ME: I would like to start this conversation with one of my favorite philosophers Aristotles’ quote.
”The most important in our lives are the moments of relaxation, happiness and humor.”
Aristotle teach us trough this quote that besides of the hard work we also need the moments of laugh and happiness. So my question is :
-What makes you happy and from where do you draw this positive energy that defines you as a person?
DIMITRIS: Well since you mentioned a great Greek philosopher I will have to answer accordingly using Confucius words: “Choose a job you like and you will not have to work one day in your life”. I am happy when I am flying, by any means. I don’t consider it a job though. It is something more like an internal need. I cannot see myself doing anything else in this life. I love the feeling of freedom and adrenaline while in the cockpit of a helicopter. Nothing else is in my mind while flying other than the flight itself. When performing during a helobatic flight display things are a little different. It is more like dancing with an awesome partner. And the dance is always Tango! I deeply respect and follow my partner the same way I lead “her”
ME: The next Aristotles’ quote is:
”The one who have a lot of friends, most of the time doesn’t have anyone.”
Through this quote Aristotle teach us that it doesn’t mater how many people we have around us, but how many are able to stand beside us when we really need their support.
The question is:
-Do you have those kind of friends, and who they are?
DIMITRIS: Friend. Big word. Yes I have friends with the actual meaning of the word. Just a couple but I would trust them my life and they would do the same. Friends that believed in me when even I had doubts. That supported me when I was loosing my faith.
ME: The next Aristotles’ quote that I would like to mention is:
”In order to become a master of knowledge, you must have within yourself at least a small grain of madness.”
Genius people are very often misunderstood. Some even find them a bit of crazy because ordinary people have a difficulty to understand them.
My question is:
-Do you carry within you any grains of madness? Did anyone ever call you a bit of crazy sometimes?
DIMITRIS: Yes, I hear that a lot. But what is crazy? And for whom? I assume you are referring to the helobatic flight displays. A lot of people think that pilots flying with abnormal flight maneuvers are crazy. But this is not true. Every single maneuver is practiced a lot of times and the sequence is executed again and again up to the point that we have the final flight display sequence. Nothing is done by coincidence or random. But really, when I hear someone calling me crazy I am sure I live my life the way I was born to.
ME: Lets continue with few Democritus’ quotes:
,,It is hard to fight anger, but the prudent man keeps it under control.”
-Do you ever felt the anger, and if you did how you manage to control it?
DIMITRIS: Yes. It took me years to control my anger. I am really a difficult personality. I found out that the spearhead of communication is a smile.
,,Practice and routine makes any difficult job easy.”
-Do you agree with this one and why?
DIMITRIS: 101%. As I very often tell my students, the 80% of the flight is completed prior to engine start. Practice, acknowledge of the situation, preparation must be completed before takeoff so the only thing to come is the enjoyment of the flight.
ME: Lets mentioned few of Euripides’ quotes.
,,Some wisdom you must learn from one who’s wise.,,
-Do you have somebody who is your role model?
DIMITRIS: I have a lot actually. I try to learn constantly from many and different individuals. For example I try to adapt the professionalism as well as situation judging shown to me by my mentor in helicopters, Avgoklouris Theodoros. I try to be calm and relaxed during an airshow event, having in mind the great Jurgis Kairys guidances. I always look forward to have this small talks with him during our displays. He is a big inspiration to me and helped me a lot is safety issues. I also learned from my mechanic and friend Elias Koudounakos the meaning of trusting and respecting the aircraft. Without my mechanics or if I have doubts of them I just stay on the ground. I totally respect my instructors for the knowledge they passed me but also my students. Yes my students taught me so many things. Each one gave me something that actually made me a better pilot and for sure a better instructor.
ME: He also said that:
,,Danger gleams like sunshine to a brave man’s eyes.”
-Your job is dangerous. Have you ever felt the fear, an how do you deal with it?
DIMITRIS: Of course a fear. But fear is my friend, helping me identify difficult situations in order to find the best solutions. Flying is a great feeling, I just can’t find the words to describe. The fear is somewhere there but not covering emotions like a blanket. It is there to keep you alert in order to enjoy to the maximum.
ME: He also said:
,,There is only one life for each of us: our own.,,
-Do you have the feeling you have accomplished all you wanted, or you have more dreams to accomplish in life? And would you like to share some of your dreams for the future?
DIMITRIS: I just love flying. I believe I was born for that. For the future? Hope to be able to be on the controls of a helicopter with less limitations than I have.
ME: Lets mentioned one Heraclitus’ quote.
,,Big results require big ambitions.,,
-How ambitious are you, and did your ambitions helped you to achieve your goals?
DIMITRIS: I always said, and it is our team’s quote that “Those who say it is impossible are kindly requested not to hinder those who are doing it”. I am not ambitious. I just have my own agenda. I want to explore flight. In any means. Mostly within helicopters that I am in love with. I believe that when you love what you do or you do what you love then great results will come for sure. I don’t run after results. I just enjoy every second of my flying trip.
ME: Herodotous said that :
,,Great things are won by great dangers.”
-I think this one is related to you. What is your opinion on this one?
DIMITRIS: Amat Victoria Curam.
ME: We could not skip some of Homers’ quotes:
,,For rarely are sons similar to their fathers: most are worse, and a few are better than their fathers.”
-Are you like your father?
Dimitris: Hahaha. I think that we are totally different actually. As a teenager I was always in a confrontation with my father. I cannot say I was friend. We are not so close even today but he is my father who thought me many things and made me the man I am today.
ME: I would like to mention one of Plutarch’ quotes to:
,,To find fault is easy, to do better may be difficult.”
-Do you admit your mistakes, and are you able to learn from them?
DIMITRIS: I always take full responsibility of my mistakes as well as my teams mistakes. That for sure takes us in the state of thinking in advance next time. Although people must learn from their mistakes in aviation things are a bit more complicated. Good pilots learn from their own mistakes. Aviators learn from other pilots mistakes.
ME: Lets mentioned one of Sophocles‘ quotes:
,,Who seeks shall find.,,
-There is anything that you are seeking for?
DIMITRIS: Peace of mind.
ME: I would like to thank you for your patience, and for your honest answers.
I just want to ask you one more:
About Aishilus’ quote that said:
,,Nothing dries faster than tears.”
-Do you cry sometimes, and why? Do you agree with this quote?
DIMITRIS: No I don’t agree. Men’s tears dry only not to be seen but remain always there. Well hidden.
ME: Thank you very much for your time. It was a pleasure meeting you. I truly enjoyed this conversation with you.
-As usual when I have a chance to talk with a person that I admire, I always like to ask for the one wise advice. Would you be so nice to give one to me?
DIMITRIS: Although I am not the one to give advices I would love to share with you something I always believed. The majority’s opinion doesn’t mean it is right or truth. You do what YOU believe.