Tomas Söderman

Aircraft engineer & pilot

About Tomas

Restore my plane and being a bush pilot are my lifestyle

In the outback your tools are your best friend. Read more

–Avoiding failure and repair is the basis of all mechanical service and maintenance, and when operating a 1951-vintage aircraft in the backwoods of the Swedish wilderness you’re committed to the task, says Tomas Söderman from Nyköping, Sweden. Tomas is Aviation Fire Chief in the district of Sörmland where he co-ordinates forest firefighting and performs reconnaissance flights from Skavsta Airport on a regular basis.

– I do the mechanical work on the aircraft myself, and I have found a great partner in Kamasa and specially their line of aviation tools. The most important part of my work is never to cut any corners nor to accept any lack of maintenance. When landing at a location many days’ walk from the nearest road, and even further away from civilisation, you need to bring your own set of tools in case something happens.

–On location repairs are always to be avoided, but when landing in extreme environment I take my tools with me just as I take emergency supplies of food, drinking water and warm clothing. I need to take weight and space under consideration when I make my selection and keep it to a minimum. The equipment I carry in the plane comprises basic hand-tools with the greatest flexibility to be able to perform many different types of work. Mostly different pliers and screwdrivers, and some wrenches. The weather can change dramatically without warning, and Tomas’ biggest threat is the loss of visibility from low cloud which can inadvertently lead him into the ground. The de Havilland Canada DHC-2 Beaver is very rugged and built specifically for short take-off and landing operations in the Canadian wilderness, so there is no better aircraft for the wild outdoors in which Tomas uses it, but its original construction dates from 1948 and is totally dependent upon visibility.

–You always have a favourite tool in your box. It doesn’t need to be the tool which you use most, but it’s like an old friend who is always there for you. In my case it’s a box and open end combination wrench.