Master of the skies and the tracks: Daniel Hauser
This is what every boy or girl dreams of. Daniel Hauser (40) has two dream jobs rolled into one. He steers through the airways three weeks per month as a captain for Edelweiss Air. And he rolls through Graubünden one week per month as an engine driver for the Rhaetian Railway. The enviable resident of Einsiedeln is a globetrotter. Here today, gone tomorrow. Nevertheless he has kept his feet firmly on the ground.
1:44 pm WK 177 from Antalya touches down on runway 14 in Zurich. Some four minutes later the plane is silent at gate E47. Daniel Hauser is sitting at the controls. The 40 year old resident of Einsiedeln has been on the go for 12 hours. Or in the air to be precise. The pilot gives an experienced, calm and relaxed impression although the plane is now a hive of activity as it will be on the ground for two hours before taking off for Skopje. The flight attendants are reloading the seat pouches, the cleaning crew are at work with their mobile vacuum cleaners, the cabin manager praises an air hostess who has just come through her third flight with flying colours. Daniel Hauser wipes his hands with a damp cloth before making his final walk around inspection of his Victoria, the Airbus 320. Paperwork is essential. He approaches it with a high level of concentration. A visual inspection of the engines, checks of the tyres, tail assembly and the outer skin of the aircraft. Everything up to scratch, signature and that’s it. Daniel Hauser packs up his things in the cockpit. In the crew centre he walks purposefully to the operations control office. There he disappears down below, into the corridors with endless rows of lockers, like in a sports centre. The uniforms of the countless pilots who are up in the air somewhere hang here. For Daniel Hauser it is a flying visit as he changes from the Edelweiss uniform into his RhB uniform.
«Pilot or engine driver: both are challenging and fascinating at the same time.»Daniel Hauser
Happy end – in spite of a fateful sentence
Daniel Hauser doesn’t do things by halves yet he serves two bosses. He has been an engine driver for RhB since September 2002. He has been jetting round the world for Edelweiss Air since October 2004. But one thing at a time: „I actually did my pilot’s training at Swissair back in January 1999. After 18 months I was ready to start but the notorious grounding or cessation of flying operations came after a year. So I was unemployed.“ What could be done? The geography graduate did not rule anything out and applied for a position as an engine driver with the Swiss national railway company (Schweizerische Bundesbahnen). He was turned down. As his mother comes from Val Lumnezia he has been passionate about the Rhaetian Railway from a very young age. He took a chance and sent a speculative application. The chief engine driver trainer invited him along. During the interview he asked the following question: „If you got another chance to fly, would you say yes?“ – „Of course.“ He should not have said that. The personnel manager shook her head. „So that was it.“ But it wasn’t quite. Hauser got his chance and the sample ride went well. After 18 months he completed his training and started driving for the Rhaetian Railway. Then the telephone went again. The chief trainer at Edelweiss wanted to know whether he would be interested in working as a pilot again. „For goodness sake, I don’t want to leave the railway, certainly not at the moment“, was his initial thought. It was hard to take in. The unthinkable scenario had come to pass. And the happy end as well. As Edelweiss Air, still part of Kuoni at the time, could only offer part-time work, the dream of many boys and girls came true for Daniel Hauser.
«Pilots and engine drivers must always be able to handle the situation, under all ircumstances.»Daniel Hauser
Always pleased to be on the move
Today he spends 80 % of his time (three weeks per month) working for his airline and the remaining 20 % with his RhB. Which is more demanding, the plane or the train? „They are both challenging and fascinating at the same time. Both jobs involve the same thing: harmonising nature and technology, having good control of the machine in the wind and all kinds of weathers. In addition we primarily work for holidaymakers in the service sector. My passengers must feel they are in good hands, whether in a plane or a train. And last but not least, both employers are among the best brands of Swiss tourism“, a clearly proud Daniel Hauser explains. He speaks up for both companies with deeply felt passion. He is always on the move. Sometimes there is a short pit stop at home in Einsiedeln and sometimes in Trimmis where he has a room or in the staff accommodation in the Samedan depot. His life is characterised by a high level of discipline and great perseverance. Does Daniel Hauser ever suff er from jetlag? „No, I don’t. I benefi t from the fact that train driving has its own individual rhythm just like fl ying does. I have often arranged my freight train by 3:30 a.m. When I am fl ying I only need to get to the airport by 5:00 a.m. for a briefi ng with my colleagues“, Hauser says with a wink.
«It is necessary to harmonise nature and technology.»Daniel Hauser
He was even fl ying model planes as a child
And what does he do if he is not fl ying or driving engines? He is still on the move. He explores the mountains with his bike. Or he flies the model plane which he has (of course) had since he was a child. And what would a person who can already do all his dream jobs want to learn in the future? „There are three jobs which appeal to me: engine driver, airline pilot and, perhaps one day, geography teacher.“ There can hardly be a more suitable geography teacher anywhere on the planet.