Do what you like, don’t be exclusive – interview with Ivan Menchero

Izabela Łojewska

Erasmus Programme gave me a lot of new opportunities. One of them is doing an interview. I was always heavily into aviation. That’s why I immediately decided to interview a pilot who I really admire – Mr. Ivan Menchero.  He used to work as a chief flight instructor in China. Currently he works for aircraft management company Business Aviation Asia Ltd.

From the first seconds of the interview I realized aviation is his greatest passion. With such a strong motivation, getting flying license was not a problem. Asked about favorite airport or aircraft Mr. Menchero does not have preferences. I tried to find an answer of the questions that may interest people outside the ‘aviation zone’. It turned out that “pilots have jet lags. It is like everybody else. You cannot get used to them. But, you can accept it and like flying like it is all about or you don’t like it as well. When I have a jet lag, it lasts for seven days but it is not that bad.”

As his job requires constantly travelling, I was curious what are the things Mr. Menchero packs to his suitcase for every flight (except obvious clothes and cosmetics). “I call it plane bag. . It is really small and I cannot leave house for work without it. A flashlight, also different money for a different parts of the world, a national charger, a cellphone, plasters (I can always take them out if there is a need), the headphones for a noise.”

We discussed the advantages of being a pilot. “Firstly, to see a lot of the world. That’s for sure. Most of us love our job so we don’t complain to go to the work. It is like ‘yeah, all right! Let’s work!” I have so much power when I have to do so!”  – states enthusiastically my interviewee. I didn’t pass the medical tests what prevented me from getting a flying license. Disadvantages mentioned by Mr. Menchero helped me deal with it. “The schedule can be a little crazy. For example you are not in your house for a couple of weeks, can be even three or four weeks, then you are back for only one week. You may also have to pick up a plane which is supposed to be there for one week and I spend there five but in general I spend two and a half week working and I have left one and a half.  “

I were talking also about changes in aviation. First experiments with an aircraft were conducted one hundred years ago. Each of the World Wars led to technical advances. Nowadays what matters is not only technology but also good marketing. “I think the biggest change in aviation during my career is degradation of costs and salaries. Comparing aviation twenty or even fifty years ago it used to be a break-down. When I studied, it was OK. Then the low – cost carriers tried to reach the market. Now people work more, earn less. It is going down all the time and it is scary. I think it is quite an issue today.”

I asked Mr. Menchero what will change in civil aviation in the next couple of years. The answer was intrigued me so much to start reading about it. “I don’t know what next couple of years are going to bring. Probably cargo airplanes are going to fly with no pilots. “ At first I couldn’t believe. It emerged 80% of commercial airplane takeoffs and landings are already remote-controlled. There will be only one person to control the flight from the ground. “Flying captains should worry” – adds my interviewee.

My last question was about piece of advice for someone who wants to be a pilot.  “Start with your region, don’t be exclusive”.


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