Pilot’s Digest (PD): Tell us about your aviation career; what do you do, and how long have you been doing it?
José: My aviation career, if I could put it in one word, is stunning! I started off as an airline pilot almost six years ago. I was hired by Volaris as a cadet first officer, entitled to fly the Airbus A320 Fam. Volaris is a low cost airline which started off 11 years ago and has now become one of Mexico’s leading airlines, well known worldwide for its massive growth and effective business plans. During my early years as a first officer, I had the opportunity of studying for a college degree in Business Administration at Anahuac University. Because of this degree, I had the opportunity to work not only as a pilot, but also in the flight operations department, which involved supervising flight colleagues, helping develop manuals and procedures, and seeking the pilots’ and company’s well being through problem solving related to daily operations. A year ago, after a very demanding process of practical exams, psychological screenings and much late night study, I was given the opportunity to become a Captain, my all time life dream! It was a very satisfying moment in my career, which I’m so grateful for, and I thank everyone involved for their trust and support in giving me this responsibility. Currently I live in Monterrey, N.L., one of various Volaris hubs in Mexico, where I serve as the hub’s Chief Pilot, constantly aiming for the safe operation of aircraft, effective communication between pilots and related areas within the company, and trying to always satisfy the company’s needs in its daily operations.
PD: When did you graduate from American Flyers?
José: I graduated American Flyers on September 11, 2009 after a very pleasant and gratifying training experience. I´ve always enjoyed looking back in time, remembering the days as a student pilot, which personally was a chapter in my life I’d live over again if I had to. I definitely enjoyed the experience at the beginning of this fascinating career.
PD: Does anyone else in your family fly?
José: Currently I’m the only pilot in the family. One of my uncles, Augusto Ramirez, who I didn´t have the fortune of meeting, flew the DC-6, and later became one of the first pilots to ever fly the Boeing 727 in México. Another uncle, Carlos DeCominges, who retired a couple of years ago, flew the Boeing 747 for Spain’s major airline, Iberia, based out of Madrid. I remember him telling me all sorts of adventures he had up in the air when I was younger, which only kept motivating me to pursue my dream.
“It is one of the best times in history for people interested in launching their aviation career to step forward and go for it!”
PD: What was your first aviation job after completing your training?
José: After completing my training at American Flyers, my first and current aviation job started six years ago with Volaris, flying the Airbus A320 Fam.
PD: What made you choose American Flyers for your flight training?
José: After searching, comparing and visiting a great number of aviation schools available in the market, I found a solid program, lead by professionals, in a friendly and disciplined environment. It had, and still has, the best facilities and equipment required to safely achieve every aspect of the aviation training program I was looking for. Ever since the day I set foot in the school, all the personnel involved in training were kind enough to make me feel at home, always looking after my wellbeing and professional development. American Flyers sincerely did a great job in giving my family and me, the confidence of a secure environment, surrounded by highly qualified professionals who would take me step by step through the beginning of my flying career.
PD: If you can remember, what did you keep in your flight bag when you were in training? What do you keep in your flight
José: During my training days, I used to carry around a very similar flight bag as the one I carry today. They both share similar things that come in quite handy.
From sunglasses to IFR charts, a flashlight to see all the details on the aircraft during a night walk-around, a proper headset to listen clearly and comply to ATC needs, as well as all the legal paperwork required to fly in and out of the country, aircraft flight manuals, company procedures, policies and a very special rule-of-thumb notebook I have kept since flight school, which helps me keep track of valuable formulas, tips, tricks and procedures. I´ve learned from my instructors, captains, first officers, mechanics and dispatchers on my day to day flights. On a more personal aspect, I always carry around a couple of pictures of my family glued down to my agenda, which remind me of the unconditional support, love and faith they’ve always had. No matter how far away I might be, it’s comforting to know they are always there for me.
PD: What advice would you give to someone interested in a career in aviation?
José: The worldwide aviation industry is currently going through a monstrous growth phenomenon where airlines are in desperate need of personnel, especially pilots. It is one of the best times in history for people interested in launching their aviation career to step forward and go for it!’
Choosing to become a professional pilot should be an intelligent decision seen as a life goal to develop yourself as a person along a path of great professional satisfaction. It is not only the simple idea of traveling and getting to know the world, but it´s also the people and cultures, that will be a natural consequence of a conscious life decision. It’s not simply eliminating other career options. Despite the remarkable and unexpected need for pilots these days, the competition is still quite firm for job opportunities. Aviation is a very demanding but satisfying career. Candidates who seek to become professional pilots should, therefore, have a professionally correct attitude. Being a pilot is more than just flying a plane. It takes a great deal of responsibility, discipline, leadership, and focus in the constant task of striving to be the best!