Francisco Beltran

Government of Córdoba Province
Córdoba, Argentina

Francisco Beltran

Current Job: I’m currently working as a helicopter commander and Learjet 60XR copilot for the government of Córdoba, the second-largest province of Argentina. We perform a variety of operations, such as firefighting, air ambulance services, power-line inspections, VIP transport, and more. My key responsibility is to ensure a safe and efficient operation.

First Aviation Job: My first aviation job was in a relatively small company that did aerial photography and filming (when no gyro-stabilized cameras existed), agricultural flights, and radio coverage of sporting events such as the Word Rally Championship. We flew the R22 and R44.

Favorite Helicopter: I think the best helicopter is the one that provides you work in this awesome industry. Also, I believe all helicopters have something to give us or teach us, but the power of the H125 IS AMAZING!

How did you decide helicopter aviation was the career for you?

The ability to land or operate almost anywhere, in addition to the wide variety of jobs we can perform while also helping others, is quite stunning. I can be sure that every day I spend flying these fantastic machines, I fall more and more in love with this career.

How did you get to your present position?

I started flying gliders at the age of 15, then transitioned to airplanes. While towing gliders and doing some other flights, I got my ­commercial certificate. Meanwhile, I started helping out at a small company, cleaning helicopters, trying to understand how rotorcraft fly. I spent hours reading the checklists while seated inside the helicopter, practicing [aerial] movements, noting where the instruments were and how I had to move the controls, and so on. Then, after some time, I started flying helicopters, and the company decided to hire me, a low-time pilot! I could never be too grateful for the opportunity and the trust they had in me.

What are your career goals?

I’d like to work abroad. That’s why I got my FAA certificate, and now I’m working on my EASA license. Working in the offshore industry in the North Sea would be great!

What advice would you give someone pursuing your path?

NEVER, EVER GIVE UP! If it’s your dream, go for it. Never stop studying, learning, listening to experienced pilots, and being humble. Everything comes sooner or later, so be patient and work hard.

Who inspires or has inspired you?

My first boss in the helicopter industry, with his modesty, professionalism, always helping others improve their skills. My parents and their core values were, without a doubt, also an inspiration. My mother is finishing her law studies and carries a high grade-point average. She exemplifies what it means to be a hard worker, humble, persistent, and an excellent human being.

Tell us about your most memorable helicopter ride.

After 12 years flying helicopters, it’s difficult to choose just one memorable ride. But in my current job, we perform air ambulance and firefighting flights, and every time I return to the base after a successful mission, the feeling I have is indescribable.

What still excites you about helicopter aviation?

What I like most is the fact that every day, every mission, is completely different. From the performance perspective (a mountain rescue) to the job to be done (fighting wildfires or conducting humanitarian flights), you have to be ready for a new challenge every single day.

What challenges you about helicopter aviation?

I’d like to be more proactive when it comes to accident prevention, figuring out how to collaborate to mitigate human factors as much as possible. I’m planning to become a human factors facilitator. For a while now, I’ve been feeling the need to return at least just a little bit of all the industry has given me. As a flight instructor (for helicopters, airplanes, and gliders), I always try my best.

What do you think poses the biggest threat to the helicopter industry?

I think it’s getting harder to find qualified and trained pilots. The high cost of training has left some pilots out of the game. And there’s a wide gray area in which low-time pilots lack the requirements to transition to other jobs.

Complete this sentence: I know I picked the right career when …

… I go to work, and it doesn’t feel like work! I wouldn’t trade my job for anything!


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