Captain Enrique (Rick) Valdes started his flying career in 1975. He is a retired (2013) United Airlines Captain. He has over 24,000 flight hours, his airline experience exceeds 34 years. Captain Valdes is also rated as a captain and has flight experience on the Boeing 727, Boeing 737, Boeing 757/767, Boeing 747-400, Boeing 777, Cessna Citation 500 and Cessna Citation 560XL. He has extensive international experience including North and South America, Europe, and the Far East. Currently, he is flying a CE 560XL under parts 91/135.
Captain Valdes has held several Air Line Pilots Association International (ALPAI) safety offices for over 20 years. He graduated from ALPAI basic and advanced accident investigation courses and ALPAI basic and advanced safety schools. During 1998–2000, he was the Chairman of ALPAI Latin America and Caribbean Air Traffic Advisory Group (LACATAG). He is highly regarded for his expertise in Latin America flight operations and air traffic control issues.
As his airline’s ALPAI Vice-Chairman of the Central Air Safety Committee (2002-2007), he was one of the first responders to any domestic or international incident/accident involving pilots. Rick was in-charge of the ALPAI program responsible for representing pilots during Flight Safety Investigations (FSI). He participated and coordinated in FSIs, assisting pilots involved in accidents and incidents. He made recommendations related to flight procedures, the flight hand book, and the flight operations manual. He has conducted airport and facility inspections throughout Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Peru and Venezuela, on behalf of his airline. Capt. Valdes is the 2006 recipient of the highly prestigious United Airlines ALPAI Master Executive Council – D.B. Robinson award for safety.
During 2000 - 2013, he was a member of the International Federation of Air Line Pilots’ Associations (IFALPA) air traffic services committee and IFALPA’s representative to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) study group, called Proficiency Requirements In Common English Study Group (PRICE SG). This group created the English language proficiency requirements for pilots/controllers, which ICAO adopted into their annexes, effective March 5, 2008. Rick was awarded the 2006 ALPAI Presidential Citation for his work with ICAO.
He is a former U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Aviation Safety Inspector-Operations. He assisted in several investigations dealing with violations of Federal Aviation Regulations. As the assistant Principal Operations Inspector (POI) for an air carrier, he was directly involved with the oversight of their operation, including pilot and flight attendant training.
Capt. Valdes is a graduate of Barry University in Miami, Florida with a Bachelor’s Degree in Professional Studies. He is also a graduate of Miami Dade Community College with an Associate of Arts Degree in Liberal Arts.
Rick is a native Spanish speaker. He is quite familiar with Latin cultures and finds himself at home in the Americas. He has traveled extensively throughout Central and South America. He is a former Miami Dade County Deputy Sheriff (1971-1974). He volunteered and served in the United States Marine Corps (USMC) 1966 – 1971. He is a Viet-Nam veteran.