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Martin Diaz

Off to a flying start

He was always destined for a life in the aviation industry and now Martin Diaz’s career has taken off.

A day after graduating from Seneca’s Bachelor of Aviation Technology program, the 23-year-old was hired as a Boeing 727 Second Officer with Cargojet Airways, Canada's leading provider of air cargo services.

“This was always the goal,” Martin says. “Not many people in this industry have landed their dream career right after school. It is a very competitive field.”

From the time he was four years old, Martin looked forward to the day he would get into the cockpit of a plane. Growing up in Cuba, he spent his entire childhood telling everyone that he was going to be a pilot.

Unfortunately, when the time came to actually pursue that path, Martin found himself with very few options. He quickly discovered, the only way one could become a pilot in Cuba was by joining the military, and for Martin that was no choice at all.

As fate would have it, Martin’s luck changed when his father was offered a job opportunity in Canada. It’s a move that landed Martin in Toronto and eventually Seneca’s Aviation Technology program, which trains students to become commercial pilots.

“As soon as I got here and started researching flight schools I decided on Seneca,” he says. “I knew because they offered a degree program it was going to position me better in a highly competitive industry.”

Martin completed the four-year degree program in 2011 and the day after he attended his commencement ceremony he had an interview with a representative of Cargojet. A few days later he received a call with an offer to join the company as a Second Officer.

In this role, Martin doesn’t actually fly the plane but is in the cockpit during flights and performs the bulk of aircraft preflight checks, operates and monitors the aircraft's systems and makes aircraft performance calculations, such as determining takeoff and landing speeds, engine power settings and fuel management.

Since joining the company, he has already logged more than 300 hours in the air and has travelled across Canada and the United States carrying cargo varying from live animals to pharmaceuticals and electronics.

Although he admits flying cargo is different than flying people, Martin looks forward to the day when he has that responsibility too.

“I’m always looking at the big picture, but right now I couldn’t be happier.”

Seneca’s Bachelor of Aviation Technology program is the only aviation technology-based degree program in Canada. To learn more about the program, visit senecacollege.ca/fulltime/FPR.html.