Captain Ricardo “Rick” Velez, dreamed of becoming a pilot since he was a young boy. He would listen attentively to his Grandpa Alfredo tell stories of his glory days as a DC-6 pilot in the United States Army Air Corps (the precursor to the United States Air Force) and he would daydream of the day that he too could pilot an aircraft. His passion and devotion to flying was so much that his mom Ellen would take him to watch fighter jets take off and land during her lunch breaks from her job at Elmendorf Air Force Base in Alaska.
Today Rick is a talented, hardworking pilot with over 10,500 hours logged. Rick's rapid career advancement has been the result of getting things done right, safely, and on time. Rick’s passion for aviation is his driver for being the best pilot he can be. Rick possesses extensive pilot-in-command experience in both corporate and air ambulance sectors. Rick has proven ability to plan and carry out routine and complex flight, successful management of emergency situations, and oversee all functions necessary for a corporate aircraft operation. Rick holds multiple certificates and ratings, including B-737, G550, G-IV, LJ35 and LJ25. Rick has been recognized throughout his career for outstanding performance, preparation, and aviation abilities. Rick possesses outstanding leadership, management and communication skills. Rick is conversational in Spanish and is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Aeronautics from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.
Rick started his aviation career in March 1995 at National Jets in Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport, where he was hired as a Line Service Technician. His duties included fueling, towing and cleaning aircrafts, as well as handling baggage. Rick’s motivation and dedication in providing world class full FBO services for customers’ and company aircrafts resulted in a very quick promotion to Line Service Supervisor in June of the same year. As Line Service Supervisor, he led a dedicated group of service technicians, focusing on top notch, world class customer care. Rick managed his department by implementing operational efficiencies and cost effectiveness without compromising the luxury experience for customers. He coordinated the setup of company aircrafts for executive charter or air ambulance configuration. During this period of time, Rick had a very busy schedule attending flight school at Professional Flight Training in Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport, preparing himself for the opportunities that laid ahead for him.
By November 1997, Rick had acquired all the necessary licenses, certifications and flight hours needed and he was promoted to First Officer on Lear Jet 25/35 for National Jets. As second-in-command, his duties and responsibilities included assisting the captain in pre-flight planning and performing all duties assigned while complying with all applicable FARS and company regulations. He completed weight and balance for the flights as well as performed thorough pre-flight inspections.
Two years later, in November 1999, Rick was promoted to Captain on Lear Jet 25/35. During this period of his career, he conducted International Part 135, 24-7 on-demand charters with flights to North, South and Central America, the Caribbean, Greenland, Iceland, and Europe. He was responsible for his international and domestic flight planning, with many flights into adverse conditions such as evacuations regardless of weather and high risk airports for critical Air Ambulance flights. Rick oversaw his entire flight operations, including medical personnel management at destination, safety and security, fueling, and collections from customers. Rick was also National Jets’ Learjet 25/35 Company Instructor Pilot.
While Rick continued to be a Captain on Lear Jet 25/35 for National Jets thru May 2008, a BBJ that National Jets was managing for a client caught his eye. Rick would dream of one day flying that beautiful aircraft. In June 2004 Rick’s motivation, drive, passion and ambition drove him to get a second job at Miami Air International, where he acquired a 737 type rating, becoming a Captain Qualified First Officer. Rick’s experience at Miami Air International included worldwide, unscheduled Part 121 operations. He conducted extensive international flight operations for the Department of Defense and the Intelligence Agency. Rick flew for major professional sports teams, large corporations, and subservice for major airlines. Rick attained LRN, RVSM, NOPAC, CEPAC, and 180 minutes ETOPS qualifications. Rick was also Cruise Captain APC qualified.
On November 2005, the BBJ Rick dreamed of flying for National Jets, had a Captain position available; having prepared for this opportunity, Rick applied and got the position as BBJ Captain. As a one owner, VIP, Part 91 operation, Rick conducted worldwide flights to the highest standard of safety, comfort, efficiency, confidentiality and luxury to the principals. Rick took a leadership position implementing IS-BAO for National Jets from the ground up; becoming Safety and Training Officer for the IS-BAO program. As BBJ Captain, he implemented cost control procedures to ensure value without sacrificing quality and luxury experience for the principals. He recruited helicopter and small aircraft charter companies when needed. Rick is FANS, CPDLC, and HUD qualified. In March 2013 the BBJ went on sale, as a result, Rick went from a full time Captain to a Contract Captain for the aircraft while it is on the market, transitioning seamlessly to Velez Aviation Services, LLC. Rick’s first flight as a contractor on the BBJ took him to Shanghai, where he attended ABACE.
Rick has always admired Gulfstream aircrafts, and in his constant pursuit of bettering himself professionally, he enrolled himself at CAE Simuflite in Dallas to acquire his G-IV Captain Type Rating, expanding our operations to suit demand. As a G-IV Captain, Rick is already providing flight departments with his world class service.
As of this writing, Rick has logged over 10,500 Flight Hours, of those, 6,481 as pilot in command, and 3,972 as second in command; and holds the following Certificates and Ratings:
Airline Transport Pilot – Airplane Multi-Engine Land
B-737, G550, G-IV, LJ35-LJ25 Captain Type Ratings
FAA First Class Medical – No Restrictions
FCC Radiotelephone Operator Permit