For the Riveiros, aviation is truly a family affair. First Officers Vanessa Riveiro and her son, Eduardo Briceno Riveiro, are Atlas’ first ever mother/son pilots. But the passion for aviation in this family doesn’t stop there.
“My parents are both pilots,” said Eduardo. “My father is now a retired Captain, after 45 years with a commercial airline as a pilot on the 747 and 777. My mother, Vanessa, always had a love for aviation and used to take me up in a Cessna when I was a teenager in Seattle, Washington. She dreamed of a career as a pilot but put those plans on hold to raise four children.”
A few years ago, after her kids were grown, Vanessa got back into aviation working at DHL. While living in Panama City, she would fly in and out of Miami International Airport (MIA), where she had an exceptional view of Atlas 747s.
“The aircraft was breathtaking,” said Vanessa. “I had a lot of interaction with the Atlas pilots, and I chatted with 747 Captain David Luse [who is now retired] and 747 Captain George Kuhn about the Company and felt that it would be a good fit for me.”
After completing her FAA ATP (Federal Aviation Administration Airline Transport Pilot) rating, Vanessa joined Atlas as a First Officer on the 767 in December 2019.
The happiness of achieving her dream was soon replaced with uncertainty only a few months later. Vanessa wanted to return to her home in Panama, but was unable to due to the country’s strict COVID rules during the pandemic.
“It was during this time that Atlas truly became my family and kept me going,” said Vanessa. “Although I couldn’t return home, I was able to see a number of new places around the world. We did a lot of military flying during this time, which I really enjoyed.”
At this same time, Vanessa’s son Eduardo was working as a flight instructor with the hopes of completing his requirements to join a regional airline. It took longer than expected, due to the pandemic.
“I was frustrated and often talked to my mother about it,” said Eduardo. “She has always been a mentor to me, personally and professionally. She told me all about Atlas, how much she enjoyed flying with the company and how she believed in its values and the amazing people who worked there. She thought it would be a great place for me one day. That kept me going.”
After completing his ratings and hours, Eduardo landed an interview at Atlas with the help of Captain Christopher Grable who referred him, and he joined the June 2022 767 New Hire class.
For Thanksgiving in 2022, both Vanessa and Eduardo were on the road when they had a great surprise. Eduardo was scheduled to take an observation flight and Atlas’ training and scheduling department worked to have him observe his mother’s flight.
“It was such a special moment for me,” said Vanessa. “These are the little things the Company does to make pilots feel special.”
Eduardo shared, “On that flight, I got to feel like part of the crew. It was amazing to watch my mom fly.”
“I love that we both work at Atlas,” said Vanessa, who has since transitioned to the 747. “Although we are not currently flying the same aircraft, we are on the same team. We always try to meet up when we can and we talk about how we can work to be better crewmembers. I never in my wildest dreams thought we’d be doing this together.”
As for Eduardo, he loves telling other Atlas pilots about his mom.
“When I tell anyone at work that my parents are pilots, most people first ask about where my dad works,” said Eduardo. “One of my favorite things is when I can share with them that my mom is not only a pilot, but an Atlas pilot. I am proud to be First Officer Vanessa Riveiro’s son.”