“All I want to do is fly airplanes,” says the 32-year-old aerobatic competitor, air racer, airshow performer and air tour operator. “I’m really passionate about it.”
Indeed, Anthony Oshinuga lives and breathes aviation.
As the owner and chief pilot of Air Oshi, based in Temecula, California, Oshinuga offers aerial tours of the scenic southern California landscape and, for many, an introduction to general aviation in his vintage Cessna 170A.
Flying low and slow over the lush terrain, passengers enjoy some of the best scenery and landscapes in the world.
Gliding over the rolling vineyards and taking in distant mountain vistas, what they probably don’t notice is their pilot’s second aviation “home” is the area’s FAA approved aerobatic box.
For many pilots, aerobatics represents an apex that crescendos with a few loops and rolls, but for Anthony, it’s part of a mission that started on his first inverted flight in 2010.
Thinking back to that day as an awestruck student, he recalls the exhilaration of being taken through a series of high performance maneuvers and wondering aloud “Is this legal?”
When his instructor and now longtime friend Norm Manary replied in the affirmative and informed him that there were national competitions dedicated to the pursuit, Oshingua was hooked.
Then working as a bio-pharmaceutical engineer — he holds a degree in mechanical engineering — the young pilot continued to build time in a variety of aircraft, while honing his aerobatic skills in his friend’s Christen Eagle.
Propelled by his goal of being a world class aviator, Oshinuga knew that he was going to have to dedicate himself full time to flight.
So, in 2013, he founded Air Oshi and in 2014 he bought his Pitts S1S.
Running his own successful business and free from fulltime engineering work, Anthony quickly made a name for himself as one of the best young pilots on the national circuit. Drawing attention from sponsors like Epic Fuels, Alpinestars, Courtsmith Basketball, and Bose, the “laser focused” pilot now participates in dozens of events and flies hundreds of hours each year in his S1S.
Speaking with Oshingua, it’s easy to see that this is only the beginning. Looking ahead, he lays out a sharp vision of his aviation goals that starts with being a conduit for the transfer of aviation knowledge from the current generation of aerobatic pilots to the next.
“There are a lot of older aerobatic pilots out there — really great pilots — and when they stop flying, it’s up to us to keep this aerobatic, airshow, air race…this thing we do alive,” he says.
Which, in part, is why he continues to dedicate himself to being the best aviator that he can be.
With continued success, Oshinuga knows that additional sponsorships will follow and not only allow him to reach the heights of aviation as a pilot, but to achieve his ultimate goal of, as he puts it, “being a role model and a great aviator.”
“So that I can influence a younger generation,” he emphasizes, “and introduce them to aviation.”
Whether that is starting their own aviation business or following in his steps as an aerobatic ace, it’s safe to say that with Oshinuga leading the charge, we’re sure to see another generation of pilots who say, “All I want to do is fly airplanes.”
You can follow Anthony on Instagram at instragm.com/anthonyoshinuga
What do you fly
A 1975 Pitts S1-S with 220 horsepower.
Why do you fly it
When I started competition aerobatics, my goal was to get a big aviation sponsorship. For me to get anywhere close to my goal, I needed an airplane that would be able to take me up the ranks. My Pitts will get me all the way to advanced and for what it can do the Pitts is priced very well. I not only do competition aerobatics in it, I also race it, and do airshows. It’s a three-in-one airplane.
How do you fly it
To be honest, maybe I’ve had one time where I went out and had some “fun.” The reason I say that is because every time I step in the aircraft, I have a goal. My goal is either to perfect an aerobatic sequence or an airshow sequence. I’m always training. I’m always laser focused on what I need to achieve at the time.
All pilots are always in training, but especially the ones who are up and coming, the ones that are just getting their private pilot’s license or are student pilots. Stick with it, stay motivated, don’t ever give up because you never know what this opportunity of becoming a pilot can bring in the future.
I never thought I’d be an airshow pilot. I never thought I’d be an aerobatic pilot. I didn’t think that I’d be operating an aerial touring business over wine country. I didn’t know and I’m glad that I’ve stuck with it.