The folks at Quicksilver Aeronautics say they are especially pleased to report the sale of a Special Light-Sport Aircraft, the Sport S2SE, to a different sort of customer — a war hero. While any aircraft delivery is satisfying, this one deserves extra attention, they say.
“I met Jimmy Aguila recently. He called me to say he wanted a Quicksilver Sport 2SE SLSA,” said Quicksilver Aeronautics President and CEO Will Escutia. “Every day I come to work and face the problems and challenges of running a business. However Jimmy’s story adds proper perspective to life. Jimmy’s story captured my attention and I feel humbled.”
Will Escutia sees Aguila as a real-life hero, a man who fought for his convictions. Even after being severely injured, Jimmy wanted to find a path forward, to lead a productive life and do as much good as he can.
“I am glad I had the opportunity to meet him,” said Escutia. “We expect to start collaborating very soon.”
Quicksilver Aeronautics chose to let Aguila tell his own story.
“My name is Jimmy A. Aguila, a former paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne Division and a Gulf war veteran,” he began. “After my time in active duty I returned to my home in Puerto Rico and worked with the Puerto Rico electric power authority as a power lineman. When 9/11 happened I felt the need to return to duty and defend our nation. I enlisted in 2003 and three years later, I was patrolling the streets of Bagdad in search of IEDs or Improvised Explosive Devices.
“During my tour of duty I turned 40 and was having mixed feelings that day, but all was good as I experienced no IED attacks or ambushes.”
Then things changed.
“Two days later we encountered several IEDs. While we were in process of eliminating them one of them exploded. Luckily, only our robot suffered so we had to deploy another. I was very uneasy because the more time you spend working to disarm an IED is time the enemy has to set up an ambush.
“After a while we eliminated the threat and continued our mission. That’s when another IED went off right next to my vehicle. I was a gunner and was blown unconscious. I had first degree burns on my face. After a while I recovered and was taken to the aid station and later released. A month later I was hit again, suffering a concussion.
“My third hit came on Christmas day, disabling our vehicle. After that last IED I was transferred by medevac to Kuwait for abdominal surgery. Further testing showed that I had a ruptured disk in my back and torn my bicep muscle so I was medically evacuated to Germany.
“After returning back to the US, I was awarded the Purple Heart. I retired in 2009 and had back surgery to insert a rod to hold my spine together and to have my bicep muscle anchored back in place. Being diagnosed with PTSD and a mild traumatic brain injury, I was very scared. I needed to feel whole again, so I decided to take up flying — a childhood dream.
“I set my goals with the help of my flight Instructor, Gerardo Torres. I started flying Tecnams, Piper Cubs and even a few Cessna aircraft along the way. Yet it wasn’t until I flew my friend’s Quicksilver that I experienced a totally different kind of flying. Unlike the other models, the open cockpit made me feel like I was free. I could feel the wind, smell the ocean, and see dew in the fields on early morning flights.
“It has helped me a lot, giving me the encouragement to continue thriving for a better future.
“Today I’m a Sport Pilot and working on my CFI-S and I will soon be a proud owner of a Quicksilver SLSA in which I want to take up my brothers-in-arms so they, too, can benefit from the healing of the soul, as I like to call it, using the power of flight!
“I would like to thank Will Escutia for working with me to achieve my dreams. I’m not much of a writer, but I hope this will encourage more veterans to take up flight, especially on a Quicksilver,” concluded Aguila.
Quicksilver builds and delivers fully built Sport S2SE models priced at $39,999. The longtime kit manufacturer also offers kits both as ELSA and Experimental Amateur Built versions.