WACO, Texas — As airlines are continuing to experience shortages that experts say could last a decade, local aviation students working to become pilots hope to soon make a difference.
The sights and sounds of planes traveling through the skies sparked a dream in Sang Woo Han to one day become a pilot.
He shares his first experience seeing a plane up close.
"I saw a Boeing 747, I was speechless still how big that was and then how tall it is," Han said. "For kids, the kids perspective that huge piece of metal is flying and not only just flying, have cargo and passengers in it, that day changed my life."
But the road to becoming a pilot was not easy. Han's GPA was not good enough to go to aviation school in Korea. He had to travel overseas for the opportunity of a lifetime.
"One day, fortunately, I found the pamphlet that said Central Texas College Aviation Program with the aviation science degree," Han said. "So I researched little bit more about aviation and that is correct, Central Texas College has a aviation program."
And he's raising the bar to new heights with the faculty and his peers at A&M Central Texas.
Carson Pearce, director and an associate lecturer of the aviation program at Texas A&M University - Central Texas, says he is thankful for students like Han.
"People that are coming through those programs are filling a critical infrastructure need within the United States," Pearce said. "Because of his passion, his motivation and his enthusiasm for aviation in general, it is really nice to have a student like Han who comes in with a focus and vision and then drive for it."
And today, Han is giving back by teaching and encouraging others that they can fly just as high as him.
"All my life has been changing, that's what happened to me," Han said. "I have always been flying for airlines or commercial flights but I control the airplane. Those are the moments I feel the freedom with the responsibility."
For more information on the aviation program, you can visit their website here.