My name is Higinio; my friends and students used to call me “Ike.”  I would like to share a little of my “story” with you and how personal aviation has changed my life.

After my parents divorced as a child, I moved into my grandparent’s house in my city down Town. This magnificent house was designed by a famous architect and it was perfectly situated to overlook the historic center. This stunning view included the bay, the river and the vast flat land that lies far and beyond…

The house itself was very special in style; a nautical architecture is so well done, that to this day no one notices that the house itself is the superstructure (bridge) of an imaginary mega yacht (by 1930’s standards).

My mother’s family was large, with plenty of family gatherings;  it’s easy to imagine how much we enjoyed those meetings running, screaming, jumping, listening to stories told by our elders, enjoying Christmas, New Years and countless birthday parties, cousins of about ​​my age used to come to spend a week or two. One of them, Sandra, has a great curiosity with everything that flies. We used to have paper airplane competitions, dropping them from the highest point in the house and seeing whose would fly the longest.  We spent much time recovering them from the neighbor’s roof and yard, trying to not getting in trouble or to be seen when trespassing…

Thus, between flights and dreams, perhaps inspired by the vast blue empty land that we watch every day, we decided to do some design work on paper. Our goal was to build a fabulous aircraft that would transport us (pedaling) to the skies, we would call the “Gill-Copter,” since our previous last name was McGill. This dream-craft came together using two bikes (one of which belonged to my younger sister, who remained terrified about us “splitting her bike in two”), a ceiling fan, two emerging (and ridiculous) folding wings, and a rudimentary rudder with a flag proudly painted on it; a wicker basket under one of the “banana” seats (in use at the time) would contain food for our ”picnics” on our flying away trips “Wow!!, How wonderful!!,” we exclaimed “then we’ve added one or two “very important” features to the design!”

On take-offs, we should pedaling with all our strength to ascend; once we reached straight and level flight, we would take turns pedaling  counting on our “folding wings” as a back-up plan in case we could go no more. We imagined ourselves flying over the city, the river, fields, and our Grandpa’s house  wondering cousins and friends.

As far I can remember, my childhood memories were centered around the dream of flight. Today, I can’t recall when our adventures took us next as a whirlwind of colleges, scholarships, travels, careers now fulfilling my memories.

Life continued its course until a given day, about 30 years later. I was flying over the same city after taking off from a nearby open field.  I found myself flying just above my grandparent’s house. When I looked down, there was a child, standing on the house’s top terrace, staring at me. I found the guy strangely familiar as if I had seen him before. I smiled and waved a salute at the same moment when a low cloud erased him from my vision. A moment later, I realized that the child was no other than myself many years ago!  I immediately became aware of what I was actually doing; FLYING!…I was in a Powered Paraglider with a frame and front wheel system similar to what a “flying bike” should look alike the GILL-COPTER WAS FOR REAL! I couldn’t believe it !!; I was flying the same craft from my dreams!

The old house is still there – challenging time, and now surrounded by buildings that block the view. However, that child. That child is no longer there for sure, because he is here with me,  looking out astonished at so many skies through my own eyes.

Flying has been such a huge part of my life. It was the realization of my childhood dream. Now, years later, I devote my time to teach the ART of flying to others. Much of my time traveling, flying in new areas, and changing the lives of “those who dare to chase the same dream I had.” As an Instructor, my greatest satisfaction is to watch a novice pilot land after his first flight. Seeing that specific smile on their face and KNOWING how amazing he feels is my greatest reward. There is an unspoken bond between those who have seen the world from above.

It amazes me the way the universe seems to align mysteriously; often ending up going much farther than we have ever dared to dream. If you are like me and have always dreamed about flying, I am waiting to help you to realize your dream! Contact me and let’s start your life’s next greatest adventure!

Ike Morinigo

Certified USPPA PPG Instructor