Son of Nigerian Immigrants Satisfies Dream of Flying

18 September, 2016

Anthony Oshinuga, the son of Nigerian immigrants, wakes up early and goes to work in Southern California. He owns the business, Air Oshinuga, and his job is to fly.

Oshinuga has a small Cessna vintage airplane that was built in the 1940s. He takes passengers on airplane tours over the San Diego area. Later, he will fly circles and spins in his Pitts Special, an aerobatic airplane built for such flying.

He is living his childhood dream of being a pilot.

"It's the fact of you're free in the three dimensions, up down, left, right, so you're pretty much free. You can do anything you want to do and you can't get that freedom walking on the planet."

His parents left Lagos, Nigeria and moved to Austin, Texas in 1980. Oshinuga was born the following year. He is the first generation in his family to be born in the U.S.

He knew he wanted to be a pilot at the age of five while visiting an airport.

"I was taken by what was going on. I told my father, that's exactly what I want to do."

Oshinuga in his vintage Cessna airplane
Oshinuga in his vintage Cessna airplane

With his small tour company, he flies over the wine country of Temecula in his airplane. It is polished and looks brand new. He has teamed up with some wineries in this valley, a large wine-producing area in Southern California.

"We provide clients with 30-minute scenic aerial flights over Temecula, and then we land and they go down there and do wine tasting."

Oshinuga started training to become a pilot eight years ago. He received his commercial flying license in 2013. He first entered national flying competitions in 2014.

"That's when I went to the U.S. National Aerobatic Championships and placed fourth out of 25 competitors. So since then, things have been really blossoming in the arena of aerobatics and air shows and air racings."

Aerobatics and air racing involve high levels of speed. High speeds can increase the levels of gravitational force or g-force that pilots experience. G-force can push blood away from the brain. The ability to withstand high g-forces or g-tolerance is required during difficult aerobatic flying.

Oshinuga goes to the gym five days a week to build strong muscles. Strong muscles help to keep blood in the head while performing aerobatics.

Oshinuga studied engineering at the University of California, Riverside. He worked as an engineer for seven years. He says that engineering helped to pay the bills, but his passion is aviation.

His goal is to compete at the highest level of aerobatic competition.

I'm Dorothy Gundy.

Mike O'Sullivan reported on this story for VOANews. Dorothy Gundy adapted this story for Learning English. Mario Ritter was the editor.


Words in This Story

vintage – adj. used to describe something that is not new but that is valued because of its good condition, attractive design, etc.

spinsv. to turn or cause someone or something to turn around repeatedly

aerobatic n. difficult and exciting movements of an airplane often performed for entertainment

tourn. a journey through the different parts of a country, region, etc.

polishedadj. made smooth and shiny

commercialadj. based on the amount of profit that something earns

competitionsn. the act or process of trying to get or win something (such as a prize or a higher level of success) that someone else is also trying to get or win

gravitationaladj. movement to or toward someone or something

gymn. a health club where people exercise