It’s not easy to become a pilot. You have to undergo rigorous training, fly several sessions, and pass all the needed exams and certifications before you can even take a plane off the air.
But Capt. Butch Generoso of Philippine Airlines has shared that the hardships of being a pilot not only involve flying per se, but also extreme situations beyond anyone’s control. How do you even keep your cool in the presence of a hi-jacker—with a gun pointed at you as you maneuver the aircraft?
Yes, he has been through exactly that, and so much more. He has been involved in rescue operations, flown prominent personalities, and navigated planes through natural calamities. All in all, he boasts a total of 15,000 flying hours since the start of his career.
Check out the achievements of this pilot that showed just how skillful Filipino fliers are—even under extreme duress:
1. He was commanding an Airbus A330 in 2000 when it was hijacked by an armed man
In a feature by ABS-CBN’s ANCX, Capt. Generoso said his plane, which carried 278 passengers, was hijacked in 2000—recalling that the armed Filipino pointed a gun to his head and presented him with a grenade.
He said he was able to convince the hi-jacker that they will do as instructed and to not hurt anyone else. The man took money from the passengers and jumped off the plane with a homemade parachute. The plane and the passengers were landed safely at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.
ANCX reported that Generoso received a commendation from former President Joseph Estrada due to the incident.
2. He flew planes that rescued war-affected OFWs in Syria and Libya
ANCX added in its report that the Captain was the one commanding the aircraft in charge of fetching and flying affected Filipinos home in 2006. “We had to arrive after midnight and leave immediately after boarding of passengers,” he told ANCX.
He was also the one who flew the plane that rescued OFWs in Libya in 2014 at the height of the nation’s civil war.
3. He welcomed Pope Francis
Capt. Generoso also had the pleasure of welcoming Pope Francis when he arrived at the Fiumicino Airport in Italy, according to ANCX.
4. He helped evacuate Filipinos from Puerto Rico during Hurricane Maria
In an interview with ANCX, the pilot said he was the one who flew an A340 that was tasked to evacuate Filipinos working in hotels in Puerto Rico during Hurricane Maria—deemed as the worst natural disaster in the country. “We were the last big plane to depart the islands, and the winds were starting to affect our departure as Maria was to arrive in the afternoon,” he said.
5. He flew several Philippine presidents
He had the honor of flying Fidel Ramos, Joseph Estrada, and Gloria Macapagal- Arroyo to different destinations across the country. And the world!
“During the time of GMA, we journeyed almost to all the continents, even Africa. We went as far as Cuba. You know—those places you wouldn’t think you’re going to to go to, I landed on those airports,” he told ANCX.
6. He commanded the flight to Tashkent, Uzbekistan with his son to rescue OFWs affected by COVID-19
Commanding the flight with his son First Officer Jose Iñigo Generoso and Second Officer Erick James Baloria, Generoso helped rescue COVID-19 affected OFWs in the country clamoring to go back to the Philippines. He told ANCX that this is the first flight of PAL to the capital of the country.