Skip to main content

Matti Oswald

Owald Matti was born in Berne on November 27, 1926. After the compulsory school in Thun he did an apprenticeship as a mechanic at the machine shop and ammunition factory of Thun. He continued his educational training doing a four year professional school finished with brilliant results. In 1944 he obtained the sailplane pilot licence at the airport of Berne-Belpmoos. Between 1946 and 1948 he worked as a mechanic for the Alpar aviation company at the airport of Geneva-Cointrin. In the same period he obtained his licence as a private airplane pilot. At the same airport, between 1948 and 1952, he was designated vice-chief mechanic by Pilatus Air Service. Between 1952 and 1955 he became airplane instructor for Pilatus Air Service in Kloten. This company was charged with the major maintenance work of Air Import's helicopters. Consequently Matti was in close contact with the pilots and the mechanics of the latter company.
In that period the holding company Bürhle purchased a Hiller UH-12B and Matti, who was already an airplane pilot, was chosen to be trained as a helicopter pilot. On March 2, 1954 he obtained the commercial licence n° 8 using the Hiller UH-12B trained by Leonard Kunz.

In March 1955 he took part in the flight demonstration organized on the lake of Zürich by the Swiss Air Rescue Guard (SARG). In that occasion he piloted the Hiller UH-12B HB-XAC showing (together with Sepp Bauer who was flying the Hiller UH-12B HB-XAH) how a helicopter could be used for SAR missions. Matti was in fact one of the first rescue helicopter pilots of this organisation. Much later he piloted the Agusta-Bell 47G2 HB-XAP (the first of this version to be imported in Switzerland) purchased by Pilatus Air Service. He also worked temporary for Heliswiss as an instructor.

In 1959 he left the civil aviation and became a military helicopter flying instructor. On October 31, 1959 he obtained the military pilot licence and was incorporated, until 1964, in the surveillance squadron (Ueberwachungsgeschwader - UeG) based in Dübendorf. He was then transferred to the new military base of Alpnach. In 1967 he was designated non-commissioned officer (Adjutant Unteroffizier) of the Swiss Air Force.

He continued his activity as a military instructor until his retirement in 1984. In the meantime he had moved to Hergiswil/NW. Altogether he logged on the helicopters Hiller UH-12B, Bell 47, Alouette II, Alouette III and AS 332 Super Puma, 7'726h30' and 50'022 landings. On the airplanes he logged 763h55' and 2'481 landings.
Oswald Matti passed away on May 16, 2018 at the age of 91 years.

HAB 08/2018