In this special AvGeek series, Flight Chic guest writer Rida Khan has candid conversations with pilots who share their passion for flight and what inspired them to pursue a life in the clouds.
To most people the sky is the limit. To those who love flying, the sky is home. Once you have tasted flight, you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards. There you find your wings. All you have to do is FLY.
Interview: Copilot Hudson Sá
Hudson Sá, is a 30 year-old airline pilot who flies the Boeing 737NG for Brazilian airline based in São Paulo where he has worked for the past eight years.
Q: Was becoming a pilot your dream? How did your family support and motivate you as you pursued your passion for flight?
Sá: I come from a family related to aviation. My father is a pilot, as well as my brother. And my sister is flight attendant. We also run a flight school in Natal, northeast Brazil. As you can see aviation is in our blood, so I think I had no choice. I always dreamed of being a pilot, flying in a big airline and, of course, I always had the support of my family.
Q: What was your first flying experience when you joined the aviation industry?
Sá: I cannot precisely say what my first flying experience was because I always had the opportunity to fly. I consider my official first flight as the one I had in my first day at flight school, back in 2003. I flew a Brazilian instructor plane very similar to the Piper Cub. It was summer, around midday, and the atmosphere was extremely turbulent due to the up and downward air.
Q: How did you adjust your life schedule being a pilot and having to travel everyday?
Sá: My job is my priority so I plan my life based on my roster. I have a monthly roster that is released to us on the 22nd or 23rd day of every month, so I can plan all my appointments in advance for the next month.
Q: How do you feel during times of festivals or family celebrations when you’re on duty and away from family and friends?
Sá: In my airline we can choose up to three days off in a month for some special events like a friend’s or relative’s birthday or any other appointment. If I want to travel during a period that is not my vacation I can take three days at the end of the month and three days at the beginning of the next month so I have six consecutive days off to do whatever I want. About 98% of the days off requests are approved. During Christmas or New Year, we can choose only one of them to fly to a particular destination or as a day off.
Q: What’s your favourite destination to fly to?
Sá: My favourite destinations are Miami and Punta Cana. We stay in a resort by the beach, enjoy the Caribbean sea, and eat good food.
Q: How you manage collaboration with your captain, as copilots change from flight to flight?
Sá: In my airline there are more than 1500 pilots. We all have the same training and we must follow a strict standard operation procedure. So, although we can be very different people with different behaviour, we know exactly what to do and what not to do the way the company expects us to do it.
Q: Does putting on your pilot’s uniform make you feel different?
Sá: It’s clear that wearing a pilot’s uniform we call people’s attention and get some respect from them. For me, there is no difference. I keep my essential character no matter what I am wearing.
Q: Was there ever a point in your life when you were scared to fly an airplane?
Sá: In my first job, flying a single engine Piper Arrow, I had a bird strike. It was a huge vulture that broke the windshield and passed in a very small space between my head and the roof. I became soaking wet with blood and didn’t know if it was my blood or the bird’s blood. I was with a colleague and I asked him to take control of the plane because it was hard to fly due to the strong winds on my face. After we landed safely I could confirm that all that blood wasn’t mine and I was intact. But the next day the windshield was replaced and we were back to flying!
Q: When finally retire from the pilot life, how do you think you will feel and what will you do next?
Sá: I invest right now, setting something aside for my retirement. After retiring, I think I will travel to every single place in the world I didn’t visit yet and rest. But I cannot say that I won’t open a business related to aviation, or stay in charge of the family’s flight school. We can never predict the future. Everything can change.
Q: Do you have any advice for future pilots?
Sá: You will find many obstacles and difficulties on your way but the secret of success—not only in aviation but in your life—is to never give up. Keep focused.
After speaking with pilot Hudson Sá, I feel that he understands that the road to success is not easy to navigate, but with hard work, drive and passion, it is possible to achieve your dreams.
You can follow pilot Hudson Sá on Instagram: @hudsoncsa
Guest writer Rida Khan is a foodie blogger with a hunger for a big slice of the skies. A native of Bhopal, India, Khan writes about food and aviation and is working on an airline inflight food research project. She also posts healthy food recipes for pilots and travellers on social media.
You can follow Rida Khan on Social Media:
- Twitter : @mohd_ridakhan
- Instagram : @ridakhan_21
- Food Blog : Innovative Dishes On Your Way