Helicopter Association International
2024 Salute to Excellence Awards:
Maintenance Excellence: Michael Yip
Director of Maintenance
Becker Helicopter Service Pty Ltd
Michael “Yippy” Yip’s career began in 1977 when he enrolled as an apprentice to obtain a certificate of aircraft maintenance from Australia’s government-run Technical and Further Education program in Sydney. Since then, he’s built a 40-plus-year career as a licensed aircraft maintenance engineer, A&P mechanic, chief engineer, maintenance controller, head of aircraft maintenance control, and director of maintenance.
In 2009, Yip joined Becker Helicopter Services and has since developed an industry-wide reputation for not only his maintenance and management skills, but also his ability to strengthen teams and increase their safety margins. Yip has achieved these feats while overseeing a team of more than 50 full-time engineers and maintaining a fleet of 20 Bell 206 JetRangers. He has achieved a remarkable 98% availability rate under Australia’s IFR and night-vision imaging system standards.
One of Yip’s standout achievements, according to Becker Cofounder, Chief Pilot, and Executive Director Mike Becker, is his innovative way of strengthening relationships between pilots and engineers. “His programs are designed to cross-train staff and facilitate direct interactions, which have led to a more cohesive, efficient, and safe working environment,” Becker says.
Yip’s contributions to the Becker team include a monthly pilot maintenance program that culminates in a company barbecue to help foster a sense of community and open communication among staff. He’s also organized in-house safety programs to provide avenues for his team to participate in industry-wide safety initiatives. For instance, Yip included the company’s engineers in night-vision goggles training to improve both maintenance and operational effectiveness. His proactive approach to safety management systems (SMSs) includes encouraging his staff to actively contribute to the company’s SMS program, which helps promote a culture in which safety is a collective responsibility.
On the regulatory front, Yip has been a voice of reason and an agent for positive change. He has worked meticulously with local and international regulatory bodies to fine-tune the wording and intent of regulations, ensuring they are both current and operationally practical. His work has resulted in amendments to existing rules and regulations, marking him as a true industry influencer.
Yip’s philosophy is to take all he’s learned throughout his career and use it for the betterment of the company and his teams. “An efficient, profitable operation is possible with a well-resourced team,” Yip says. “I advocate for what the people who work for me need and also encourage them to help support everyone else along the way.”
Yip also mentors future aviation professionals. He’s trained 10 apprentices over the past decade, the majority of whom have remained in the industry, often in advanced positions. Some have even gone on to start their own aviation businesses, attesting to the quality of training and mentorship they received under Yip’s guidance.
When not overseeing Becker’s maintenance program, advocating for his team, or mentoring the next generation, Yip is deeply dedicated to his family—both at home and at work. He invites employees’ families to participate in staff celebrations and awards vouchers for family activities in recognition of work performance, emphasizing the importance of family’s contribution to work–life balance.