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Hispanic Heritage Month Feature: First Officer Edgardo Mercado Perez

January 10, 2023

Hispanic Heritage Month Feature: First Officer Edgardo Mercado Perez

First Officer Edgardo Mercado Perez recently worked a special trip with an entire crew of four Latino crew members. He shared with us what made this trip memorable, more about his Latin roots and his efforts to help inspire other Spanish-speaking individuals to join the aviation industry.

How long have you been with PSA?
It will be two years next month. I grew up in Puerto Rico and left my beautiful island two years ago when I started training in Dayton.

You recently worked a trip with an all Latino crew. What made the trip special and what did you take away from the experience?
The trip was a unique experience that I would love to have again. I have flown with pilots and flight attendants from many countries, but this crew was more than just special. It was a complete Latino crew, one flight attendant from Colombia and both pilots and the other flight attendant from Puerto Rico. The energy and passion that we, as a crew, felt together was outstanding. It felt like being home in our countries. Both the Captain and I are so proud and happy to make this trip possible. It was a goal established since I started at PSA.

This is not the first time I shared the flight deck with my friend, and fellow pilot, Captain Jose Torres Lopez. He was a flight instructor of mine four years ago in our University, where we both graduated with the same bachelor’s degree. Today, he is still my mentor, teaching me what he can and guiding me to be a great Captain, just like him. From the CFI/student relationship, to building a great friendship, to now working together as Captain and First Officer on a trip, this experience will remain in my memory and heart forever.

Who were the crew members for this special trip?

Captain Jose Torres Lopez from Salinas, PR

First Officer Edgardo Mercado Perez from San Sebastián, PR

Flight Attendant Thirsis Ramírez from San Juan, PR

Flight Attendant Juan Morales Barreto from Colombia

What do you like about working for PSA and would you recommend it to other pilots?
I highly recommend PSA to other pilots. It’s a professional and organized airline, that is always looking for improvement and is determined to be the most respected regional airline. I really like the people here. They are the ones that make PSA great. To be a great airline, you need great people and that’s what PSA has. I also like the base locations, which are great for my commute.

What inspired you to join the aviation industry?

I didn’t know what to study at the end of high school. When it was time to start applying for colleges, I still wasn’t sure. My cousin works for the United States Coast Guard and, at the time, he was working as an aircraft mechanic. One day, he took me to his base and showed me around. After that, I started doing research about aviation, realizing it was a strong and fast-growing industry. Days before graduation, I was selected as a winner in the technology category at Premios Ende, which are prestigious awards for students in Puerto Rico. After receiving a scholarship for college and other benefits, that’s when I decided to seek a career as a pilot. I did my first flight on June 3, 2016. Three years after that flight, I was graduating in the Interamerican University of Puerto Rico with my FAA certificates all the way to MEI, 950 hours and an interview with PSA.

Tell us more about your passion for bringing more Spanish speakers into the aviation industry.

I’m in the process of making a video in Spanish explaining what it’s like to be an airline pilot. My friend is a social media influencer and will post it to YouTube and social media channels. I can reach Spanish-speaking communities and inspire them to join this industry and encourage the Spanish-speaking community that it’s possible to be a pilot, even if you come from a non-English speaking country. When I can, I also post social media-approved content like pictures and videos of the pilot life. I’m always open to talking to people. If they contact me with questions, I’m there for them.

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