In the Dutch East Indies alone Hilgers made at least 8,000 take offs. Throughout his career as aviator he survived at least 20 crashes without ever breaking a bone
Life in a nutshell
As it was impossible for Indos in colonial history to attain the necessary education in the Dutch East Indies (now: Indonesia) required to maximize career opportunities, Indo-European families that could afford it would sent their children to schools and Universities in the Netherlands. At age 11 Hilgers was sent to the Netherlands. When Hilgers studied at a technical school for mechanics in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, his hobby was already building model airplanes. After completing his education in 1908 he went on to work in electricity plants in Nijmegen. As off 1909 he enthusiastically started building his own experimental gliders.