AOPA Pilot Magazine - April 2021 - 60

Theirs is an unlikely friendship.
Adrian Eichhorn and Shinji Maeda were
born 24 years apart on opposite sides of the
planet. They were raised in different cultures, speak different first languages, and
work in different professions. They met
online through their shared passion for
long-distance flying, however, and soon discovered a spooky series of similarities.
Eichhorn, 65, a recently retired airline
pilot, and Maeda, 41, a Boeing production manager raised in Japan, both earned
engineering degrees at U.S. colleges; were
seriously injured in motorcycle accidents in
their late teens (Eichhorn has a steel plate
in his forearm, and Maeda is blind in his
right eye); and they fly modified Beechcraft
Bonanza V35Ps built less than one year
apart (in 1962 and 1963).
" It's unreal how much we have in common, " Eichhorn said. " We both come from
tight-knit families with parents who supported our aviation ambitions. And our first
'flights' through the air happened when we
got hit by cars. On a personal level, we just
clicked. "
Beyond personal histories, Eichhorn
and Maeda also share some unusual personality traits. They're relentlessly optimistic,
joyfully pursue outlandish goals, and happily share what they learn.
Eichhorn pioneered the use of medical borescopes in piston aircraft engine
inspections and flew around the world in
his Bonanza in 2016. Maeda founded a nonprofit corporation that provides discovery
flights for young people with disabilities.
During his upcoming world flight, he plans
to give talks in more than a dozen countries
about overcoming adversity.
They both have coarse, offbeat senses of
humor (Eichhorn shares odd memes, and
Maeda is quick with one-eye puns: " I'll keep
an eye on that! " ). They minimize the impact
of personal and professional setbacks, and
they treat their achievements as largely
60 | AOPA PILOT April 2021

undeserved, preferring to pass the credit to
others. Eichhorn says his airline/corporate
flying career was a " lucky break " that came
about because he was in " the right place
at the right time. " Maeda credits a former
professor, Ed Wischmeyer, for recognizing his drive, putting him in the left seat for
the first time, and convincing him that he
could become a pilot. And Maeda says he
isn't exaggerating when he claims U.S. aviation " saved my life. "
" After my motorcycle accident in Japan,
I was classified as permanently disabled. I
couldn't work. I'd never be allowed to fly.
I couldn't stand the idea of being a burden
to my family or others-so I decided to kill
myself. At 18 years old, there was nothing
for me to live for. "
Maeda's father learned that his son
could still fly in the United States despite
his injuries, however, and encouraged
him to apply. He attended Embry-Riddle
Aeronautical University in Prescott,
Arizona, and earned a pilot certificate in
2004. He's now a seaplane pilot and flight
instructor with about 1,300 hours total flying time. He's also married with a 3-year-old
son, and infant daughter.
" The United States gave me my life
back, " Maeda said. " If I stayed in Japan,
my life would be over. There's no question
about that. "

A little nervous

Maeda read about Eichhorn's aroundthe-world flight in 2016 and sent him an
email full of technical questions. " He flew
a Bonanza and that's what I wanted to do, "
Maeda said. " I knew his experience could
help me. "
Eichhorn said he receives many inquiries about long-distance flying, and his
responses tend to be short and brutally



AOPA Pilot Magazine - April 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of AOPA Pilot Magazine - April 2021

Contents
AOPA Pilot Magazine - April 2021 - Intro
AOPA Pilot Magazine - April 2021 - Cover1
AOPA Pilot Magazine - April 2021 - Cover2
AOPA Pilot Magazine - April 2021 - Contents
AOPA Pilot Magazine - April 2021 - 2
AOPA Pilot Magazine - April 2021 - 3
AOPA Pilot Magazine - April 2021 - 4
AOPA Pilot Magazine - April 2021 - 5
AOPA Pilot Magazine - April 2021 - 6
AOPA Pilot Magazine - April 2021 - 7
AOPA Pilot Magazine - April 2021 - 8
AOPA Pilot Magazine - April 2021 - 9
AOPA Pilot Magazine - April 2021 - 10
AOPA Pilot Magazine - April 2021 - 11
AOPA Pilot Magazine - April 2021 - 12
AOPA Pilot Magazine - April 2021 - 13
AOPA Pilot Magazine - April 2021 - 14
AOPA Pilot Magazine - April 2021 - 15
AOPA Pilot Magazine - April 2021 - 16
AOPA Pilot Magazine - April 2021 - 17
AOPA Pilot Magazine - April 2021 - 18
AOPA Pilot Magazine - April 2021 - 19
AOPA Pilot Magazine - April 2021 - 20
AOPA Pilot Magazine - April 2021 - 21
AOPA Pilot Magazine - April 2021 - 22
AOPA Pilot Magazine - April 2021 - 23
AOPA Pilot Magazine - April 2021 - 24
AOPA Pilot Magazine - April 2021 - 25
AOPA Pilot Magazine - April 2021 - 26
AOPA Pilot Magazine - April 2021 - 27
AOPA Pilot Magazine - April 2021 - 28
AOPA Pilot Magazine - April 2021 - 29
AOPA Pilot Magazine - April 2021 - 30
AOPA Pilot Magazine - April 2021 - 31
AOPA Pilot Magazine - April 2021 - 32
AOPA Pilot Magazine - April 2021 - 33
AOPA Pilot Magazine - April 2021 - 34
AOPA Pilot Magazine - April 2021 - 35
AOPA Pilot Magazine - April 2021 - 36
AOPA Pilot Magazine - April 2021 - 37
AOPA Pilot Magazine - April 2021 - 38
AOPA Pilot Magazine - April 2021 - 39
AOPA Pilot Magazine - April 2021 - 40
AOPA Pilot Magazine - April 2021 - 41
AOPA Pilot Magazine - April 2021 - 42
AOPA Pilot Magazine - April 2021 - 43
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AOPA Pilot Magazine - April 2021 - 45
AOPA Pilot Magazine - April 2021 - 46
AOPA Pilot Magazine - April 2021 - 47
AOPA Pilot Magazine - April 2021 - 48
AOPA Pilot Magazine - April 2021 - 49
AOPA Pilot Magazine - April 2021 - 50
AOPA Pilot Magazine - April 2021 - 51
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AOPA Pilot Magazine - April 2021 - 53
AOPA Pilot Magazine - April 2021 - 54
AOPA Pilot Magazine - April 2021 - 55
AOPA Pilot Magazine - April 2021 - 56
AOPA Pilot Magazine - April 2021 - 57
AOPA Pilot Magazine - April 2021 - 58
AOPA Pilot Magazine - April 2021 - 59
AOPA Pilot Magazine - April 2021 - 60
AOPA Pilot Magazine - April 2021 - 61
AOPA Pilot Magazine - April 2021 - 62
AOPA Pilot Magazine - April 2021 - 63
AOPA Pilot Magazine - April 2021 - 64
AOPA Pilot Magazine - April 2021 - 65
AOPA Pilot Magazine - April 2021 - 66
AOPA Pilot Magazine - April 2021 - 67
AOPA Pilot Magazine - April 2021 - 68
AOPA Pilot Magazine - April 2021 - 69
AOPA Pilot Magazine - April 2021 - 70
AOPA Pilot Magazine - April 2021 - 71
AOPA Pilot Magazine - April 2021 - 72
AOPA Pilot Magazine - April 2021 - 73
AOPA Pilot Magazine - April 2021 - 74
AOPA Pilot Magazine - April 2021 - 75
AOPA Pilot Magazine - April 2021 - 76
AOPA Pilot Magazine - April 2021 - 77
AOPA Pilot Magazine - April 2021 - 78
AOPA Pilot Magazine - April 2021 - 79
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AOPA Pilot Magazine - April 2021 - 81
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AOPA Pilot Magazine - April 2021 - Cover3
AOPA Pilot Magazine - April 2021 - Cover4
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