By Julie Summers Walker
Bruno Brasileiro says he got the aviation bug when he was just 5 years old, growing up in Brazil. But he never was able to pursue his dream until he moved to the United States in 2015. On July 4, 2017, he took his first flight in a friend’s Piper Cherokee. “That day, something flipped in my mind, and I decided that it was finally time to pursue my childhood dream. Being a foreigner, I had to go through a rigorous TSA background process and lots of paperwork. But in January 2019, I finally went to a flight school at Republic Airport (FRG), Long Island, New York, and took my very first flying lesson.”
He works in advertising in New York City, so his lessons were confined to weekends. After five months, he had his private pilot certificate. “It took 30 years for me to finally go after my dream, but the wait was worth it. It’s the best thing I’ve ever done in my life.”
He purchased his Grumman Cheetah—the N number said 4U and he took that as a good sign—and started posting on Instagram and YouTube. His followers enjoy his positive attitude and helped him name his stuffed cheetah, which sits on the glareshield at the right seat. He’s now called “Mars” (as in the singer Bruno Mars).
“I’m fascinated and humbled by the number of messages I receive daily from people all over the world saying that following me has motivated them to start in aviation,” he says. “Hundreds of others message me with questions regarding flight school, training, challenges, etc. When I started my Instagram account and my YouTube channel, I simply wanted to share my journey with others. After a few years, I realized I was doing more than just sharing; I was inspiring. And that’s when I committed to doing everything I can to help grow the aviation community.”
Follow Bruno Brasileiro Instagram: @fly_with_bruno
Find yourself in a rut? Need to get out of the house? See the places featured in this year’s destinations issue, then jump into an airplane and visit one of them (and plan your journey with aopa.org/travel).
Tofino, British Columbia
Rugged and ravishing
Charleston, South Carolina
Lone Pine, California
Come along with us as we fly new aircraft, visit amazing destinations, learn techniques to become a better pilot, and meet interesting folks in the aviation community by watching AOPA Pilot Video.