89.3 F
San Fernando
Thursday, Aug 18, 2022
-Advertisement-

Aviation Companies Tout Opportunities

Hector De Luca wanted all his life to learn how to fly airplanes but it wasn’t until he was in his early 50s that he got his pilot’s license. Now as a member and secretary of the Latin American Pilot’s Association, De Luca has the opportunity to impart his love of flying on teenagers and young adults, especially those of Latino descent. The San Fernando Valley resident sees his and the association’s role as something he didn’t have when he was younger, De Luca said. “It’s a way to encourage and guide them,” De Luca said. “They want to learn how to fly but don’t know where to start.” The Latin American Pilot’s Association, based out of Whiteman Airport in the City of San Fernando, was among the dozens of organizations, companies, school and public agencies taking part in an Aviation Career Day at Van Nuys Airport on April 15. Syncro Aircraft Interiors, Inc., a company based at the airport, and the office of Los Angeles City Councilman Tony Cardenas co-sponsored the event. But Syncro President Barbara Cesar said that while her company was a co-sponsor the idea to have an event promoting aviation careers came from Bonny Herman, former Valley Industry and Commerce Association president, and Jose Cortez, chief of staff for Cardenas. “I know there is a need in aviation,” Cesar said. “I know a lot of the other companies here (at the airport) and we talk about our businesses. It’s always a struggle to find qualified personnel. This (event) is a good way to help the airport and help aviation.” During comments to an audience of nearly 100 people, both Cardenas and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa referred to Van Nuys Airport as the “economic engine” of the San Fernando Valley. An update to the airport’s economic impact study done in 1998 found that the airport contributes $1.2 billion annually to the Southern California economy, creates 10,000 jobs and generates an earnings impact of $273 million. Maintenance jobs One area that will see an increase in need for more workers is aircraft maintenance and repair. That is the assessment of Philip Struyk, an instructor with the North Valley Occupational Center’s aviation training program located at Van Nuys Airport. Mechanics in his age group will be retiring over the next five years, calling for a tremendous need for skilled mechanics to replace them, Struyk said. While the students enrolled in the center’s mechanics program know little to nothing about airplanes when they start, after completion it is not unusual for graduates to have jobs waiting for them at third party companies that perform maintenance and repairs on aircraft. “Usually the corporate flight companies like experience,” Struyk said. “They’ll take our graduates after they get two to three years experience.” Other North Valley graduates have gone on to the military, to work on the Space Shuttle program with NASA, and on unpiloted aeronautical vehicles, Struyk said. While an element of risk exists with some aviation occupations, there are many positions within the field that don’t even involve getting into a cockpit and taking to the air, Cesar said. “I’d say about 50 percent of the workers here at the airport are not pilots and never took a flight lesson,” Cesar said. “I wanted to get word out there are a lot of different things and give kids an option about aviation.” Non-flying positions Among non-flying positions are air traffic controllers, airport management or aviation company operators and owners. At Elite Aviation, a Van Nuys firm providing charter services and private aircraft management, concierge and customer satisfaction manager Rosey Haffey has carved out one of those behind-the-scenes roles. “Our goal is to meet and exceed every expectation of our clients,” Haffey said. “The interiors, the leather, the china, the crystal has to be top quality at all times.” Looking to break into to that part of the field is Joe Barber, a senior at California State University at Northridge who is interning at Elite in flight logistics coordination. Barber, a communications and business major, approached Elite President Richard Hodkinson about interning with the company to learn more about its operations. His career goal is to do what Haffey does, Barber said. “It’s a serious business creating customer satisfaction unlike any other,” Barber said. “The opportunities for doing that are incredible. We have one employee who has years of experience in the service industry. We are expanding into the service aspect and being able to take care of all the minor details.”

-Advertisement-

Featured Articles

-Advertisement-
-Advertisement-

Related Articles

-Advertisement-
-Advertisement-