Published June 2021
In general, our parents tend to be our inspiration and motivation to set goals, achieve objectives and become the people who fill them with pride. However, there are exceptional cases where both father and son are an inspiration to become the best professionals every day.
It also happens in the LATAM family. On Father’s Day, we met two families whose legacy makes us fly. Their love for aviation is in their blood, and it doesn’t know any borders.
Álvaro Camargo Villa (Father) and Álvaro Camargo Ospina (Son) are LATAM Colombia pilots and share a family history where aviation has been present for generations. Don Álvaro’s father flew as a private pilot for 40 years, when he could share the experience of flying with his son. “He used to take me on some flights where I was allowed to accompany him, and that’s how little by little I fell in love with aviation due to its dynamics and emotion. The same thing happened with my son”, says Don Álvaro, talking about his childhood memories, when he would watch his father flying.
Álvaro Jr.’s childhood wasn’t much different. He can remember when he could travel in the cabin with his father while he was working as a pilot for an oil company. He also remembers when his father returned from his flights with gifts, sweets, and souvenirs from other places and countries for him, special treats that he couldn’t find in Colombia.
Today, both of them are pilots. Don Álvaro works as a Boeing 767 Commander in cargo flights, and Álvaro Jr. is an Airbus 320 Copilot in passenger flights, but his goal is flying Boeing planes, just like his father. Also, aviation is not the only interest these two pilots share. Don Álvaro and Álvaro Jr. are interested in cycling and music, although Don Álvaro confesses that he is not very good at playing instruments. However, his son has the talent to excel in piano and guitar.
Before joining LATAM, Don Álvaro used to fly for an oil company, but in 2008 he read an ad in the newspaper where LAN (at that time) invited new pilots to apply. So he applied, got the job, and has been part of the airline ever since. First, he joined as a Boeing 767 Captain. Then, he worked with Boeing 777 for four years until he returned to B767 as Instructor Captain and a Civil Aeronautics Agent. Seven years later, his son became part of LATAM as an Airbus 320 First Officer.
Although Álvaro Jr. currently works as an Airbus 320 Copilot, he assures that he would love to fly Boeing 767 or 787 aircraft for passengers in the future.
Though aviation is a profession where much time must be sacrificed, and there have been several Christmases and New Years that they have missed, this family has managed to spend the important dates with their loved ones. They review the key dates monthly to share the most special moments with the other family members.
However, despite the sacrifices, sharing a profession has brought them closer to each other. “For me, having the same profession has been something remarkable for my job because it has allowed me to share a lot with him, teach him, discuss technology and flight techniques, even though we are in different teams. Being colleagues has brought us closer together”, says Don Álvaro.
“In my case, having a pilot dad has been enriching. When I was at school, I had so many questions about aviation, and I asked for his help, tips, advice… I have learned a lot from him.”
In Ecuador, we met Nessar Cano Farah, an Airbus 320 Commander (Father), and Nessar Cano Cedeño, an Airbus 320 First Officer (Son). They are a family that has fulfilled a dream. Don Nessar’s story begins in the Ecuadorian Air Force, where his father was part of the academy but couldn’t achieve his goal of being a pilot. Nevertheless, it motivated Don Nessar to work hard and pursue his father’s dream, becoming an Air Force Pilot, where he flew for 17 years.
After this experience, he mainly worked in office activities, and he decided to apply for a pilot position at LATAM. He joined the airline as a Boeing 767 First Officer and spent three years and a half in this job until he was promoted to Airbus 320 Captain, where he has been working for about 10 years.
On the other hand, Nessar Jr. applied to the same company after finishing his studies at a school in the US and obtained a diploma as a commercial pilot, which had been his goal since he had left school. He returned to Ecuador, validated his certificates, and fulfilled the mandatory experience hours to enter LATAM, initially in minor aviation, flying jets. Once he had reached the necessary level of expertise, he could be part of the airline he had wanted to belong to for so long, working as an Airbus 320 First Officer.
Dreams that came true during the pandemic
Besides being colleagues, this family shares a very touching episode during the pandemic. Don Nessar and Nessar Jr. tell us that father and son are generally not allowed to fly together. However, due to the Covid-19 situation, the operation management authorized it because Nessar Jr. was the only available pilot at the time.
“It happened during the pandemic; we were both at home, and no one wanted to get infected so that we could fly together. It was a short flight from Guayaquil to Salinas, but that’s when we could share and live the moment we had been waiting for so long. I know we weren’t allowed to do it, but it was an emergency, so we took advantage of it”, confesses Nessar Jr.
“It was an incredible experience for both of us, from planning the flight to leaving home, getting on the plane, and coming back. The whole experience was amazing; they were unforgettable moments, and we could even take a photo before the flight. We enjoyed it tremendously and had a great time”.
Don Nessar considers that the fact of his son choosing the same profession has been a source of pride. “There are cases where the children choose a profession because it’s their parents’ jobs too, but Nessar did it professionally; I’m really proud of him.”
“I’m proud because I could finish the commercial pilot course and get a job at the airline where my father works. But, the truth is that seeing him, meeting him when I bring him the plane or he brings it to me fills me with huge pride. Every time it happens, I can’t believe it because it is something that I never expected”, says Nessar Jr.
Don Nessar’s hobbies, besides aviation, are interior design and crafts, and he confesses that he loves doing new things at home. He also likes helping his wife in her entrepreneurship, creating and designing. “My friends say that I am a frustrated architect,” he says, laughing.
Art is another hobby that he shares with his son Nessar Jr., a fan of the audiovisual world. Through his camera, he captures moments in the cockpit during his flights, and he also produces videos that are even part of the flight simulators for the airline’s training sessions. Besides, in his spare time, he supports entrepreneurs with audiovisual material from their companies.
Although the pilots have very little free time available, Don Nessar and Nessar Jr. get together each month to decide which dates are important for their family so they can match their free days’ calendar. “Even though we are not always lucky, we have already got used to it. In this profession, sometimes you have to spend Christmas or New Year flying. It is a career that demands certain sacrifices, but that also gives many satisfactory moments.
Sharing it with a son is the greatest satisfaction of all.”