A Proud Sponsor of the Earth Rounder Mission
Learn about the Aero Zypangu Project and the Earth Rounder Mission.
About Shinji Maeda
Shinji is the first Japanese one-eyed certified pilot in the world. His story is a story of hope and overcoming adversity. It started out as "impossible" - and he changed it to "I'm possible!"
Shinji Maeda has been an aerospace enthusiast his entire life. For as long as he could remember, he dreamed of becoming an airplane pilot in Japan. While growing up on a family farm outside the small town of Hokkaido, Japan, he often envisioned flying the blue skies and connecting people from around the world. Shinji pursued his dream and entered one of the oldest Aviation High Schools in Japan.
A horrible car accident left Shinji blind in one eye, crushing his teenage dreams. Shinji died in that accident - but fortunately was revived back to life. But his life in Japan was changed forever. Under Japanese aerospace regulations, losing an eye was a disability that disqualified him from having a pilot's license. People told him that not just his dream was Impossible, but HIS LIFE WAS NOW IMPOSSIBLE.
Determined to find a solution, Shinji's father encouraged him to move to the United States and continue his education. Upon graduation with a Masters degree in Safety Science from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, Shinji joined a large Aerospace company.
While achieving his professional goals, Shinji never lost sight of his true passion to fly the blue skies. He continued to participate in flight training programs, and under the United States aerospace regulations (Statement of Demonstrated Ability – SODA – FAR61.401), he was successful in obtaining a private pilot license in 2005. This was a "first" for the Japanese aerospace community: to have a handicapped pilot with a single eye. Shinji went on from private pilot training and now teaches others how to fly at Snohomish flying servicein Washington, as an FAA certified flight instructor.
Shinji achieved his dream, and he is now giving back to his communities through inspirational and motivational speaking. He is often found working with international students. He shares his personal story and the challenges that he has had to overcome to realize his dreams. He finds great joy in inspiring others to share his passion and achieve the unachievable. His slogan "when they tell you "impossible" think "I'M POSSIBLE!" has been heard by thousands of youth, disabled people, and families around the world.
You will often hear him say: “there is nothing that can’t be overcome" and “let's do more amazing stuff together!" Shinji is a true inspiration to those around him. And now he is planning to fly around the WORLD to meet more people. If he is possible, yes, “YOU ARE POSSIBLE” and this EarthRounder Mission is Possible!
I was told to accept my fate and I was treated as damaged, and less than whole.
My future was empty and I was told it was empty by many.
I had to find the strength inside me to take the word “IMPOSSIBLE” and change that word to “I AM POSSIBLE!”