Matías: “I could fly a thousand hours in this plane, and never tire.”

Matías flying in his favorite aircraft, the Bristell NG 5

Meet Matías Brante, who has been an App in the Air user since 2015, and is now an Ambassador in the Air. Matías has a unique pilot career, capturing agriculture aerial imagery in Chile. In this interview, he shares his childhood inspiration for becoming a pilot, recounts his favorite flying experience, and shares how he has become a more compassionate passenger.

Tell us about yourself.

I’m 23 years old and I live in Viña del Mar, Chile. I work as a commercial pilot in general aviation — I have several clients in different locations and fly to the aircrafts’ owners. I specialize in aerial imagery and analytics, and use cameras to capture multispectral imagery of agricultural regions in the country.

What inspired you to pursue a career as a pilot?

As a child, my parents took me on several trips with them. During one of these trips, I recall looking out of the plane window at the Panama airport (PTY) and wondering, “These planes must be flown by someone — who are they?” When I returned back home, I immediately looked up information on how to become a pilot. Eventually, after graduating from school in 2016, I decided to attend flight school in Curacaví, Chile, where there was a great student atmosphere and good-quality instruction. It was a very pleasant experience to fly there.

What is your ultimate goal as a pilot?

Honestly, the goals have changed over the years. At first, it was to fly a Boeing 737 in Copa, because I have many memories traveling from there to incredible destinations with my family. Then, when I was a pilot student, my classmates talked about their aspirations to join LATAM Airlines, which is the main airline in Chile. However, unlike my peers, I began to like general aviation, which is the field I’m currently in, and I’m very happy.

Matías at Los Cedros Airport (SCED), after providing transportation to the aircraft owner.

Tell us about your favorite flying experience.

A flying experience that I remember pleasantly, is when I recently obtained my Private Pilot’s license. I flew with a flight school classmate to the south of Chile, and we toured many locations together with our Bristell NG5 Light Sport Aircraft, which is the plane our flight school provided for use to accumulate flight hours. Although the Bristell is not a well-known plane, I think of it fondly because it is the one in which I learned to fly. To this day, I still visit my flight school, and whenever I see the Bristell, I always think “I could fly a thousand hours in this plane, and never tire”.

Matías took this photo with the aviation inspector just after passing his commerical pilot exam.

What is an interesting fact most people would be surprised to learn about pilots?

When I entered the world of aviation, two things surprised me. The first is that pilots are a group of people whose passion is flying—they don’t just see it as a common job—it’s actually their lifestyle. And the second is that in most cases, pilots are always willing to help each other. The environment pilots are in helps us to form great bonds of friendship over the years.

Matías attended the 2022 Villarrica International Air Festival with friends.

How has working in the aviation industry impacted the way you travel as a passenger?

Working in the aviation industry has helped me develop a deeper level of understanding and compassion when it comes to travel. For example, flights often get canceled due to adverse weather conditions— it’s a very frequent problem during the winter season in Chile. The common passenger is often not informed about the minimum visibility required to land an aircraft, and thinks that the airline is to blame for the flight cancelation, but I understand things aren’t that simple.

What destination is at the top of your travel bucket list?

The destination that’s always at the top of my list is St. Maarten. I love it because it has the perfect combination of beautiful beaches and aviation with the famous Maho Beach! I traveled to the island in 2013, and to this day, it’s still number one on my list, as I would be happy to go back over and over.

Planes fly low when landing at Princess Juliana International Airport in St. Maarten.

How do you use App in the Air as a pilot?

I discovered the app a few years ago in the App Store. I was looking for an app that would help organize my trips, and it was by chance that I discovered App in the Air. I use the app at work when I have to travel to another city to fly a plane in that locality. I also use the app to book plane tickets. My favorite feature is the interactive flight map that shows the destinations you have visited, the distance traveled and the hours you have been inside a plane as a passenger.

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