Top Flight

Written by Nana Nadal of Metro Society

Top Flight
Photo by Jinggo Montenejo | Metro Society

It is quite fascinating to watch Paj Rodriguez giving instructions to move this and that, here and there. He does it so casually, like he’s just re-organizing furniture in his living room. You would not have guessed that he is standing in a hangar, pointing to airplanes and helicopters.

In describing the fleet, he rattles off a couple of names, such as MD Helicopters. “The MDs are very reliable, that’s why we love using them. They’re very functional helicopters. You won’t get an excuse saying there are too many people or that it’s too heavy, you can’t fly. Technically speaking, they can get the job done,” he assures.

He also mentions the swiss-manufactured Pilatus PC-12, a turboprop which boasts a large cargo door that would be ideal for a triathlete who needs to lug his bike across the archipelago. “The pilatus PC-12 are the ones we use to fly to resorts such as Amanpulo, El Nido, Balesin, Bantayan Island, and Camiguin.”

And then there’s the Rolls-Royce of all busines jets, the Gulfstream, used to get to different airports such as Cebu, Davao, Hong Kong, Japan, Australia, or even to the US. “They only make business jets, they don’t mix it up with other aircrafts like commercial aircrafts. And that makes them the best people in the business. They know what they’re doing because over the years that they’ve been in business, they’ve been focused on how to deliver the best customer experience,” he emphasizes, admitting bias for the brand.

“Once you’ve tried that Gulfstream, you’ll never go back to flying commercial,” he attests, proceeding to describe its posh features. “You have an electronic door that opens for you then you step on carpet so comfortable that we have passengers taking off their shoes and walking wwith just their socks on. You have the nice captain seats and of course the amazing leg room. Then you have the divans that you can convert into beds so if you’re on a long flight, you have beds you can sleep in.”

But what he really raves about is the Gulfstream’s fresh air system and points out that it’s not available in any other aircraft. “It flushes out all the air every two minutes and replaces it with new air,” he describes. It keeps the environment safe and healthy. If somebody cough or sneezes, all the passengers don’t get infected, unlike in a regular commercial flight. He also cites the cabin altitude as another trademark. “If you’re flying at 40,000 feet on commercial airlines, you would have a cabin pressure altitude of about 8,000 feet. So even if you sleep 10 or 8 hours in the plane, you’ll still feel tired. That’s because the cabin pressure is so high, pretty much like you’re on top of a mountain. So your heart is beating so fast and it’s as if you didn’t get any rest. Whereas, when you use a Gulfstream, the cabin pressure is minimized down to 3,000 or 4,000 feet so when you sleep it’s like you slept on your bed. When you wake up, you’re ready for the next task,” he guarantees.

Starting out with two helicopters in 1996, there are now 27 aircrafts under his watch as the executive vice president of Asian Aerospace. “We don’t broker or outsource. We own them. It’s our collection but it’s a collection that we use for our business,” clarifies the 29-year-old who runs the day-to-day functions alongside his brother piero, the director for special operations, supervised by their father Peter, the chief executive officer.