During an ongoing pandemic and a subsequent crisis, both communication and leadership gained even more importance – and that is especially true when speaking about the aviation sector. Yet, when it comes to aviation, there is one person whose insights were equally relevant long before the pandemic started – as they are relevant today. And that is Aeroclass instructor Hector Sandoval, who can also boast an extremely inspiring story about his career in aviation.
Hector recalls being fascinated by airplanes for the first time in his life when he was 5 years old. The most fascinating thing about airplanes for him was the idea that those ‘great looking machines’ could take people to really far away places. Growing up in a small city in Guatemala, the only airport Hector saw as a child wasn’t big either. However, when a relative or a friend of his was taking a trip or coming back home, Hector’s family made it into a whole-day tour which would involve going to the terminal hours ahead of the flight. And it was the time when he was, to put in his own words, “just taking in all of the sights and the sounds and the scenes of the airport, as this magic portal by which people would go from one place to another place, sometimes very far away.”
Mr. Sandoval distinctly remembers one particular day when his dad was taking a business trip and they made it again ‘a whole day’s affair’ to go there hours before his scheduled flight,
see him checking in his bag, getting his boarding pass, seeing him through immigrations and then waiting until the airplane took off. “And we would still wait on the terrace for a few more minutes, just to make sure that the airplane was really off.” – Hector recalls – “And that image to me symbolizes what air travel was – like a possibility, like an opportunity.”
However, Mr. Sandoval didn’t want to be a pilot, he just wanted to be one of those passengers, who was able to get on a seat “and then through the magic of air travel be somewhere exotic somewhere far, to some of these places that I could only watch in movies or on television.”
Yet, he got a degree in social anthropology and history – and then, when he was twenty years old, a job opening came about in a national airline. He took the job in the year 1986: “Just like many people say, once you get the bug of aviation biting you, it never leaves you.” Ever since then, aviation just became a passion for Hector.
It’s been a little bit more than three decades already. And now, after more than two years of the Covid pandemic, Hector recalls the fact that most of us took aviation and taking airplane trips for granted, almost like taking a bus, or taking a taxi: “I think all of us are going to appreciate again that human contact, that smile, that ability for people to take us safely on a journey, to accomplish something that for us is the most important thing that we have to accomplish on that particular day.”
Another thing Mr. Sandoval was missing very much during the pandemic is, as he puts it, “teaching and then learning”. In his opinion, e-learning, and opportunities it has to offer, are now more valuable than ever. As Hector explains: ‘the focused value proposition of a platform like Aeroclass is quite timely, necessary, exciting, because there are many different ways to learn, there are very different ways to acquire knowledge and content.’
Hector believes that Aeroclass is filling the gap at the right time: “The whole aviation industry was missing a platform that is created by aviation professionals for aviation professionals, that creates a very active community of people who know what they want to learn. I think just the ability for people to be able to customize their learning experience is something that Aeroclass is on its way to deliver and I’m looking forward to seeing even more of the participants’ reactions and their feedback.” – says Mr. Sandoval, adding: “I think that learning is an infinite journey.”
We just want to remind you that you can hear the whole exciting story of Mr. Sandoval by watching the Expert Talk which we had the pleasure to record with him. It is now accessible for everyone – so do not forget to watch it all!
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