The Swiss Leonard (or simply Leo) Kunz was born in Adrianople (Turkey) on December 22, 1918. In 1928 he moved to Switzerland with his family. In July 1950 he obtained the private airplane pilot licence and much later the qualification for aerobatic flights.
He then developed a deep interest in helicopters and obtained on March 3, 1953 the private helicopter pilot licence. At that moment he had logged 15h16' of flight on double controls, and 6h03' as a PIC. He was trained on the Hiller 360 HB-XAB by Josef Bauer of Air Import.
On March 26, he obtained the Swiss commercial pilot license nr. 6.
By April 15, 1953 he was employed by Air Import as a helicopter pilot and did hundreds of commercial flights (mainly passenger transportation, advertising and aerial spraying).
Kunz at that time also obtained the qualification as a flight instructor. His first student pilot was Oswald Matti who later worked on behalf of Pilatus Air Service.
During this period working for Air Import he logged a total of about 330 hours at the controls of the Hiller 360 and the UH-12B. He then decided to left this company to join by April 1, 1954 the newly founded Schweizerische Helikopter AG (later known as Heliswiss Ltd) helicopter company. In July he went to France to attend the Fenwick Aviation school. There he was taught to fly with the Bell 47 by Jean Moine.
Much later he also obtained the qualification to perform night missions and flights with the helicopter equipped with pontoons. After his return to Switzerland, Leo Kunz was designated chief-pilot of Heliswiss and began an intense flight activity. He was in fact one of the most important pioneers in Switzerland in the use of the helicopter as a "flying crane". As an instructor he trained numerous helicopters pilots in Switzerland and abroad.
On March 7, 1963 he obtained (probably as the first in Switzerland) the qualification to fly with the Agusta-Bell 204B, the new turbine helicopter purchased in two units by Heliswiss. Kunz was trained by Ottorino Lancia, the well known Italian test pilot of the Agusta helicopter company. However with this helicopter he did not fly much. On June 29, 1963 he sent a letter to his employer announcing his intention to stop his flight activity by the end of the year. At that point he had logged about 4'000 hours of flight on helicopters. He then ceased to fly with helicopters and worked as a sales representative. His place as chief-pilot was taken up by Walter Demuth.
HAB 07/2009 (rev. 05/2014)