Today we are providing a whole new perspective to business aviation by sharing our first interview with a pilot. Hellen Lima is a contract pilot based out of Tampa International Airport (KTPA) and DuPage Airport (KDPA) in Chicago, but she is available to commute anywhere within the continental United States. While she has been a pilot for four and a half years, she started her career in aviation as a flight attendant.
Hellen has flown a variety of aircraft including Citation Mustang, King Air 200, C-172, SR-22, Aztec, BA-40, Warrior, Arrow, BE-95 and Travel Air. Out of all of these aircraft, her favorite is the Cessna 172. “The C-172 brings me back to where I started. It is fun to fly and practices maneuvers in,” she said. Helen received her Private Pilot Certificate from American Flyers at DuPage Airport and her Instrument and Commercial Certificate from Illinois Aviation Academy. She received her last recurrent training in March 2014. In addition to her aviation training, she is also a licensed real estate agent and has a Business Administration degree from Fundacao Santo Andre University in Brazil. Since Hellen is from Brazil, she speaks Portuguese, Spanish and English.
Tampa has many things to see and do, so Hellen shared a few spots she thinks are great for first-time visitors. “Channelside, the Florida Aquarium, Davis Islands, Harbor Island, Busch Gardens, Clearwater Beach, Pier 60 and the sponge docks in Tarpon Springs are all great ways to spend a day. You can even relax and enjoy a historic boat tour,” said Lima. As far as her favorite local dining spot, she loves the “seafood at Frenchy’s in Clearwater because it is always fresh.”
When traveling, Hellen’s favorite destinations are Southeast Asia for the “incredible scenery, hiking spots, cuisine, friendly residents and economical prices” and Caye Caulker in Belize for the “best snorkeling and diving, plus the ability to visit Shark Ray Alley.”
If you are looking to become a contract pilot, Hellen says it is important to keep in mind that “networking yourself is the key to finding jobs and getting to know people in the industry.” She makes sure to attend Women in Aviation events, as well as Sun ‘n Fun, EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Oceana Air Show, Miramar Air Show, Chicago Air and Water Show, and the Florida International Air Show. She also shared that it is important to “always have business cards ready. Make a point to visit FBOs, meet people and exchange cards.” For commercial pilots considering a switch to private aviation, Hellen says to “be flexible and patient; it takes time to get contacts. Don’t be afraid to ask for referrals, it helps open new doors.” The next time you are in need of an experienced contract pilot, contact Hellen Lima at email@example.com.
This article is part of a series of interviews we are conducting with contract cabin crew members; individuals not employed by Air Culinaire Worldwide. If you would like to be considered for an interview, which is posted on our blog and all of our social media accounts, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.