top of page

​You are the pilot in command of your life


More stories


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. Ever since 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 and 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 “single-eyed handicapped pilot”.  Shinji went on from private pilot training and he is now teaching others how to fly at Snohomish flying service, WA 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. His joy is 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!

bottom of page