Javier was born in Colombia and after having completed his studies in the US, he spent 12 years working in investment banking. In 2002 he decided to follow his passion and start his own aviation business based in White Plains, New York. Javier can often be found flying Wings Air charters and working on aerial filming projects as a member of the Screen Actors Guild.
Wings Air Helicopters is unique in its use of helicopters as a means of private transportation. How did this idea come to be?
I grew up in a family of pilots and was very interested in aviation from a young age. I had been working in banking when I had the idea of buying a small helicopter and hiring an instructor to give lessons for extra income. Soon I realized the lucrative opportunities in air charter and applied for an Air Carrier Certificate from the FAA, which is a very complicated process. In 2005 Wings Air started operating charter flights with an expanded fleet that now include turbine helicopters. As an experienced pilot, I often help out when we have a busy schedule.
Along with charter services, what other additional and unique services does your company offer?
Wings Air has been working with major Hollywood studios for many years, providing helicopters and equipment for aerial film production. A few movies we recently worked on include Ninja Turtles, Annie, Now You See Me and White House Down.
Could you tell us a bit about your Flight Training Program?
Wings Air originally started out as a flight school, and it was the first helicopter company to be based out of Westchester County Airport (HPN). It went through a lot of changes over the years including a recent transition from Schweizers to Robinson helicopters. It’s a Part 61 school which means that flight training is provided one-on-one, not in a classroom setting. Our student base is diverse, ranging from ages 16 to over 60, both male and female. Some of our graduates are now working for Wings Air as flight instructors or line pilots.
Where is your favorite place to travel, either for work or leisure?
Anywhere there is a beautiful tropical beach with an amazing hotel nearby: Ritz-Carlton in Grand Cayman or Four Seasons in the Big Island of Hawaii.
What is one item you cannot travel without?
Aside from your company/job, what is your greatest success?
My family is my rock. I have 3 daughters in college and a 6-year-old son.
What is one book you would recommend to everyone?
One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
Can you give us your best plug/brag a little about as to what you’re working on now/next?
Filming the next Hollywood hit in Oahu for three weeks.
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