Stop by Aviation Institute of Maintenance in Fremont, CA and you will find yourself surrounded by some interesting staff and faculty members. If you happen to run into Wilner Alcantara, Leonel (Leo) Castro, or Antonio Cimarra, you are in for a special treat. While these three aviation maintenance instructors all started in the Philippines and are now teaching at AIM, their journeys are very different. However, one thing is clear in all three, their passion and knowledge for educating our students is contagious. We are happy to call them part of our AIM Fremont family as they teach the next generation of aviation professionals.

Recently, we got the chance to sit down with these instructors from the Philippines and learn a little more about them and what brought them to AIM. Through a lot of laughs (we’re pretty sure Leo could moonlight as a stand-up comic) and some heart-to-hearts, these men shared their stories and their shining passion for ensuring all our students at AIM have the best education possible. Check out part one to see what Wilner had to say. And here’s what Antonio offered:


Antonio Cimarra’s talent in the aviation field is matched by his heart and wisdom. He seems to be able to find the lesson or moral in any story and is happy to share that wisdom with you. He is so grounded you cannot help but listen to what he has to say. And if you listen to him for long enough, you will start to see just how big his heart for his students, his community, his family, and his career truly is. Antonio started his aviation career in 1974 in the Philippines after a family member who worked on airplanes graciously offered to cover the cost of his education once Antonio expressed interest in the field. Antonio grew up close to the airport and was always amazed by how such heavy machines could fly. He turned this fascination into a successful career retiring from two major airlines in a middle-management position.

Antonio retired from the airlines in September of 2020 and joined the AIM family in October of 2020. Through his lens as a teacher, he sees students as “the future of aviation.” As he shares the knowledge, skills, and techniques of being an aviation maintenance technician he also ensures he shares the challenges with his students. He wants to impress in his students what the “real life” working environment will be outside of the classroom. Antonio encourages his students to listen to their moral compass and “always do the right thing.” He realizes that he is teaching the future generation of people who are going to be keeping him safe when he flies and he will rest easier on those flights knowing an AIM student is maintaining the aircraft.

When Antonio isn’t teaching, you can find him giving back to his community. Antonio, along with his fraternity, is part of a program called Raising a Reader which empowers families and communities with the power of reading. He also gives back to a charity supporting nurses specializing in oncology, as the field is near to his heart. Antonio is proud of his career, his home country of the Philippines, and his adoptive home country of the U.S. He remarked how all have played a significant role in his life, and now, he is also proud to be a part of the AIM family. Antonio’s experiences, perspective, heart, and real-life skills make him a wonderful addition to the AIM Fremont team, and our students are certainly in good hands with him!

Antonio Cimarra smiling

The three men from the Philippines ended by imparting some advice to all past, present, and future students. Words of wisdom to help guide the next generation of aviation maintenance professionals:

Wilner: Patience. Walk slowly, drive slowly, and take your time with all you do, as there is no room for mistakes in this business.

Antonio: Perseverance. Don’t expect everything will be handed to you. You are at this point in your life for a reason. Be grateful. Understand the success or failure of the company is your success of failure. Be willing to troubleshoot when things go wrong, and don’t get frustrated. Do everything with dedication and passion.

Leo: Effort. You don’t have to be the smartest, best looking, or richest in the room, you just have to be the one to put in the most effort, and you will be successful.

Be sure to check out last weeks blog to find out what Wilner had to say, and check in next week to see what Leo added to our conversation.

Written by Ashleen Brydum

About Aviation Institute of Maintenance

Aviation Institute of Maintenance (AIM) is a network of aviation maintenance schools with campuses coast-to-coast in the United States and headquarters in Virginia Beach, Va. AIM students are trained to meet the increasing global demand of commercial, cargo, corporate and private aviation employers. AIM graduates are eligible to take the Federal Aviation Administration exams necessary to obtain their mechanic’s certificate with ratings in both Airframe and Powerplant. AIM’s campuses are in the following major metro areas: Atlanta, Charlotte, New York, Philadelphia, Dallas, Houston, Indianapolis, Las Vegas, Washington, D.C., Kansas City, San Francisco Bay, Orlando, and Norfolk. Learn more at or like them on Facebook at

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