If there were a phrase to perfectly represent the first annual Latino Pilot Association (LPA) Expo, it would be “¡Échale Ganas!” – meaning “give it your all!”
With the challenge of breaking stereotypes and become representatives of Latino and Hispanic aviators, hundreds of aviation enthusiasts and professionals gathered to inspire, network, and pave the way for minorities in the aviation industry.
Show and prove
“I’m close to reaching my dream of becoming an airline pilot because of LPA,” said Ivan Ochoa, Envoy Air Operations Recruiter. “When you meet others who look like you and talk like you, we’re able to talk about how to achieve our dreams together.”
As a full-time recruiter for Envoy, Ivan uses those wages to build flight hours to reach FAA-mandated 1,500 flight hour minimums. He’s currently up to 1,000 hours and hopes to join Envoy soon.
Ivan said that beyond the financial aspects of flight training, he also must navigate any negative stereotypes that unfortunately still happen today.
“As a Hispanic aviator, I want to break the stereotype that we’re just laborers,” Ivan said. “I want to prove that we’re more than that, and it’s my job as a recruiter to help other pilots prove that, too.”
Pass the torch
For more than twenty years, Envoy Ramp Manager Omar Gonzalez has been infatuated with aviation. Growing up near Compton, Calif., he frequently visited the local flight school to meet with the famous Red Tails and other pilots.
“I was privileged at such a young age to soak up all that knowledge and be close to the action,” said Omar, who is currently enrolled in the American Airlines Cadet Academy. “Now, I want to expand my knowledge from the ramp to the flight deck and continue to share what I know with other minorities.”
When asked about what advice he could give to those wishing to enter the aviation industry, he mentioned leaning on community.
“Ask questions about what you’re interested in and get involved,” Omar said. “There is so much insight to be gained if you put yourself out there.”
So, what does it look like to put yourself out there? Envoy Captain Patricia Serrano, that’s who.
Since 2020, “Patti” has been flying for Envoy on the Embraer 175. Now that she’s upgraded to Captain, she’s beginning to relish her new role before moving on to her next destination as an American Airlines First Officer.
“It’s definitely different in the left seat,” said Patti. “You have more responsibilities and you’re the maker of the environment, meaning you’re in charge of setting the right tone. It’s a challenge but rewarding once you realize how far you’ve come.”
Envoy Pilot Recruitment invited Patti to share her experience with pilot candidates and other attendees interested in joining Envoy.
“It’s important to represent Latina and Hispanic pilots for Envoy because it gives others a chance to see that with hard work, time and commitment, anyone can become a pilot,” Patti said. “I tell them, “¡échale ganas!” which is kind of a generic phrase, but it means more when you go through it and achieve your dreams.”
Thank you to LPA for hosting this fantastic expo — we’re proud to be Platinum Level Sponsors. Looking forward to next year!