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[10 YEARS AND COUNTING...] Q&A with Capt. Branko Obrazović about his decade at Jung Sky
Photo: Capt. Branko Obrazović (on the right) with the conductor Zubin Mehta in 2017
On May 8 2022 Capt. Branko Obrazović passed the 10-year line of being a Jung Sky pilot. For a long time now we've been wishing to sit down and have a little chat with Branko about his years with the company, so this beautiful jubilee couldn't come at a better time. Find out how he became a Jung Sky team member, how he prepares for the flights, which parts of his profession he enjoys the most, which airports he likes flying to and how he spends his free time.
Q: Branko, do you remember your first official flight for Jung Sky? What was the route, how was the flight?
A: My first official flight for Jung Sky was from Zagreb to Frankfurt (Hahn), the aircraft was a Cessna CJ1, registration number 9A-JSB, the so-called 'straight CJ'. The instruments in the cockpit were almost all 'clocks and pointers', there were no LCD instruments. The plane was 'old school'. Not a machine for an impatient young man, but rather for an experienced one. Basically, love at first sight.
We left Zagreb with two passengers, accompanied by a beautiful sunny weather and in a great mood. In Frankfurt, we were greeted by rain, low clouds and cold weather. But the flight was exactly how the passengers like it best – standard and smooth. No turbulence, no surprises and everything according to plan. Everything was on-time which is extremely important when the passengers need to get to a business meeting and that was exactly the case with the two gentlemen who were flying with us that day.
Q: How did it come about that you joined Jung Sky?
A: Given the size of the aviation community in Croatia, the fact is that everybody pretty much knows everybody and everyone knows everything that's going on in the industry. That's how I heard about Jung Sky, from friends and acquaintances. At the time, Jung Sky was a young, emerging airline, but I was intrigued by an interesting combination of very experienced aviation experts and a slightly younger, but incredibly enthusiastic team. It was a winning combination, the experience plus youth. It was at that time I finished my pilot engagement in Western Europe and I wanted to return home to Croatia. Jung Sky was an extraordinary opportunity and the decision was – as some would say - a 'no-brainer'. In addition, a friend of mine was already working there and it's always great to work alongside friends.
Q: Are there any airports you are particularly fond of flying to and if so - why?
A: There are several, but I will mention two. The first one is Samedan, also known as St. Moritz. I like it because it is located in the Swiss Alps surrounded by truly beautiful landscape. I also like the fact that it is the highest commercial airport in Europe (1,707 metres above sea level). The second on the list is Tivat Airport, located in the beautiful Bay of Kotor. A very challenging airport with one of the most beautiful and most demanding visual approaches out there.
Q: A favourite city for an overnight stay?
A: It is without a doubt Donat's city of Zadar (Croatia). I spent the most beautiful days of my youth there. I lived and worked in Zadar from 1995 to 2009 as a member of the first generation of Croatian military pilots. There I began my military flying career as a flight instructor on a Pilatus PC-9 and finished it 14 years later as a captain on the firefighting CL-415. I have a lot of friends, colleagues and acquaintances in Zadar and there are so many beautiful places I like to visit when I'm in the city.
(FOTO) On the left: Capt. Branko Obrazović, the actor Ben Stiller and Jung Sky's former FO Tin Dukić; Upper right: Jung Sky's FO Lovro Grlj, Italian singer and songwriter Zucchero Fornaciari and Capt. Branko Obrazović; Lower right: Jung Sky's former FO Tin Dukić and Capt. Branko Obrazović
Q: What part of business aviation (still) gives you most joy?
A: I love business aviation because as an aircraft captain I always have a personal and personalized relationship with each of our passengers. On the other hand, that same passenger sees me as his 'personal' captain. I love everything about this relationship. A handshake, a nice word and a direct, human interaction before, during and after the flight. Our clients feel, see and appreciate this. I also like the fact business aviation is definitely not boring. Apart from the flying itself, which I really enjoy, I am still thrilled that I don't know which airports I will fly to this month nor which cities I will spend the night in. I love that dynamic, getting to know new places, cities and destinations. Scandinavia, Pyrenees, North Africa, Aegean Islands, Antalya, Malta, seeing the pyramids, tasting the original hummus, maybe a sip of real Porto after dinner, climbing the Parthenon, looking for elves in Ireland, visiting Gibraltar with Africa 'across the way'...
Q: In what does an experienced captain like you still find challenges?
A: The fact is nobody was born with wings so I think flying an airplane alone is a big enough challenge. And you can never have too much experience.
Q: As part of your profile on Jung Sky's website, you mentioned (road) cycling as one of your hobbies. How often do you cycle and do you have any interesting routes to recommend?
A: Well, I would like to do it more often, but due to a slightly shorter season in the northern part of Croatia and being away from home because of work, it comes down to me reaching 5000-6000 kilometres per year. I think that’s OK for a recreational level. The route I would recommend: Pleso - Pokupsko - Pleso, approximately 75 km of mountain route. Or Pleso - Sisak – Pleso along the Sava River, 100 km across the plain. It's two and a half to three and a half hours of recreational ride during which you witness some really stunning landscapes.
Q: You also mentioned that, in addition to rock, you like classical music. Anything you would highlight as your favourite from each of these musical directions?
A: In terms of classical music, definitely the era of classicism - Beethoven, Mozart, Bach and romanticism - List, Verdi, Chopin. As far as rock is concerned, I like it in almost all of its evolutionary forms.
Q: What do you consider the most important qualities of Jung Sky today?
A: From a pilot's point of view – it's the company's stability, a good 'duty roster', the possibility of vacation time during the summer, the possibility of professional advancement within the company and a high level of professionalism within all company departments. Those are just to name a few. In terms of company's reputation on the outside and among private jet brokers and the passengers, Jung Sky is recognized as a highly reliable partner. It's not rare our passengers convey their satisfaction with the level of service and professionalism, as well as the simplicity and ease of flying with us. In addition, our crews are like ‘brand ambassadors’, highly esteemed in the aviation world within which we navigate and also well recognized in all the places we fly to.
Q: Do you have any special routine before or after the flights?
A: I do not. When you do this professionally, you are committed to the flight 100 percent. As a captain, you start to think about the flight well in advance and you analyse everything before and after the flight. What airport are we flying to? What's the weather forecast? How many passengers are there? What if they arrive to the airport a little bit early and what if they're late? How many flights do we have tomorrow? After we're done with the flights, how long is our rest time? When do we fuel up, tonight or tomorrow morning before departure? How far is it to the hotel? Where are we going to have dinner? When to leave for the airport again? Are there any catering orders in the next couple of flights... Stuff like that. As a captain, you must be two steps ahead at all times. Of course, my colleagues from our Operational Control Center have already analysed all of this points, but you're the captain. You have the last say.
Capt. Branko in 2015 with his son Leonard who was at the time 3 years old
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