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Carl Hiebert left his quiet Mennonite farming community at the age of 19 and began a life of risk-taking. He spent a year travelling around the world, living on $1.35 a day. He hunted wild boars in India and climbed on the Matterhorn. Returning to Canada, he indulged in his passion for adventure sports, from scuba-diving to sky-diving. Then, on September 12th, 1981, a freak hang-gliding accident put him in a wheelchair.

After two months in recovery, he placed a ‘Gone Flying’ sign on his hospital door and, with the
help of a friend, made his way to a farmer’s field, where a single-seat ultralight aircraft was waiting.
“As I buzzed the field and saw my empty wheelchair, I was overcome by this serendipitous moment.
Even if I couldn’t walk, I could still fly!”

Five years later, Carl astounded Canadians by being the first person ever to fly an open-cockpit ultralight aircraft 5,000 miles across Canada. When he landed at Expo '86 in Vancouver, he achieved what many people said was impossible—he transformed an agonizing obstacle into an inspirational achievement and made a mark in aviation history. His best selling book “Gift of Wings” is a stunning photo essay of this remarkable achievement.

Carl has taken many other adventures since, and now closing in on another personal goal — to raise $1 million for charity. In 2006 he took an AgVenture with his writing partner Deb Cripps and travelled across Canada on a 1949 vintage tractor. Together, Carl and Deb captured the diverse beauty of Canada’s rural landscape and stories of the families who farm them in their book, “Keepers of the Land … A Celebration of Canadian Farmers”.
Carl Hiebert's Bio [full] [condensed]


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