Some people can become a company´s actual brand image. This is the case of Laureano almeida, hired by SATA on May 1, 1957, he made an impressive and dedicated path as an aircraft maintenance technician, at a time when the world of aviation saw even greater fascination than it does today.
Having spent a year as a trainee at Santana Aerodrome, he was invited to join SATA and agreed, a decision which he now believes was one of the best he ever made.
Aviation in the 50s was already seeing significant expansion worldwide, but Santana Aerodrome, he said, was really in a class of its own. The mixture of bucolic pastures, used for agriculture, and aircraft technology resulted in a truly peculiar aerodrome.
Laureano witnessed the opening of Santana Aerodrome in 1941. Still a child, he remembers that people would interrupt what they were doing to watch planes taking off and landing and the dust left in the immediate surroundings.
Life had a surprise in store for him: later, he would spend countless hours there, which he will never forget.
At that time, four entities operated at the aerodrome, which opened and closed at sunrise and sunset: Direção Geral de Aeronáutica Civil, SATA, with its fourteen employees, Meteorologia and Destacamento Militar.
Its three grassland runways, maintained by a sizable flock of sheep, owned by the aerodrome itself, constituted the primary stage for “aerocows”, as the local population used to call it.
Committed and an excellent worker, Laureano Almeida was, at a certain point, invited to be a cabin member, or rather, to sit to the right of the captain as “extra crew”, actively participating in some flight procedures.
“SATA was wonderful”, says Laureano, adding that in his time “SATA was too big to be an aeroclub, but too small to be a company”.
In fact, Laureano affectionately recalls his career at the company to which he contributed so much. With nostalgia, he recalls episodes experienced during that fascinating time, such as when captains, with the cockpit open during the flight, would look back and ask for permission to take off.
He also recalls one of the best episodes he experienced in a flight from the Lajes Airbase, in Terceira, to Santana Aerodrome, in São Miguel, on which a bride boarded in her dress and veil.
“As I had to register the moment in the logbook, I remained there, tied to the grey leather chair with pointed back, in that small and tight space which I respectfully considered a sanctuary because it took me closer to the sky and to God. Looking through the window, I saw that happy bride going towards the terminal, so steady and safe, like a white dove trying out its wings. My land is beautiful, where by virtue of their love, brides go from island to island to get married.”
It is the living testimonials, such as that of Laureano Almeida, that enable us to picture the glamorous environment of SATA’s early days. It was an era of real wonderment, but also of hard work and dedication in a close-knit group. All of us are proud to continue and enjoy this path and legacy contributing to its history.