The manager of the A320 fleet for LATAM Chile, Andrés Pérez reveals the steps to become a pilot
Some dream of being doctors. Others, soccer players. Chilean-born Andrés Pérez always wanted to be an airplane pilot. Today, more than 15 years after getting his license, he recalls the path to arrive at LATAM. “One of the biggest challenges is understanding the importance of what it means to be a pilot,” he affirms.
Such responsibility requires intense training, which, as Andrés explains, usually takes two to three years. “There are alternatives to become a pilot.” One of them is to enroll in a flight school, whose course should be completed in 18 to 36 months (depending on the student’s availability and weather conditions). Another option is a university career, with a three-year course.
With so many possible ways, it’s hard to think of a rule to make your career take off. The theoretical steps, for example, vary in duration. Meanwhile, the practical portion requires between 150 and 200 mandatory flight hours. Anyone who wants to work at a company like LATAM also has to fulfil other requirements, like OACI 4 minimum English proficiency level, a Class 1 Medical Certificate, a US visa, aircraft training, and a Commercial Pilot License with IRF rating.
So much hard work has paid off. Today, with 10,500 flight hours, Andrés remembers his first experience with detail. “Excitement, freedom, and adrenaline” define what it was like to fly without an instructor. For him, looking to his side and seeing nothing but the endless blue sky was a childhood dream come true. “I think it was one of the most important moments of my career,” he says.
Andrés flies over La Paz in Bolivia and the region of Punta Arenas in Chile