59-year-old Jim Ryan, from Chilliwack, British Columbia, was left paralyzed after being hit by a wave while diving underwater in Central Pacific island Maui in 2016.
Watch the pilot enjoying his first paragliding flight
Jim was a pilot for the Royal Canadian Air Force for over 30 years.
He always wanted to enjoy a paragliding flight but he couldn’t fulfill his dream at the time due to work commitments.
Jim joined the Air Force when he was 18 years old because he always wanted to be a pilot.
He said: “I am a C4 complete injury and yes, I was hit by a wave, I also fight depression. The best help I get is spending time with people. I flew over 22,000 and hours, around the world, on phenomenal airplanes with fantastic people.”
“The wave drove my head in the sand and caused severe whiplash, which caused my injury, the force of the wave was incredibly strong.”
The former commercial airline pilot wanted to fly again after he was left paralyzed and decided to approach Greg Hemingway – a flight officer who made Jim’s dream come true.
Greg and Jim flew together when he was a captain. Greg promised Jim to fulfill his dream and take him paragliding.
Greg and Jim took off from a mountain in Harrison Mills, British Columbia and Jim enjoyed his first paragliding flight. The heartwarming video recorded on Greg’s body-cam was posted online.
Jim said after enjoying his first paragliding flight: “For someone in a wheelchair who misses flying every day, this is one of the incredible experiences that make life worthwhile.”
“It was the first time I felt like I was flying since my accident. Truly a wonderful feeling. Strangely I don’t have real feeling, but the sensation of flying was very real.”
“As you can tell from the joy I had, the feeling was incredible.”
Jim says he just sees himself as a guy in a wheelchair trying to get through life.
He said: “I don’t feel I have any choice except to move forward. The only thing that may make me different is the tremendous support I have had from family and friends.”
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