DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — In the last few years, the aviation industry has struggled finding workers. The Aviation Program at Sinclair Community College is helping fast-track students with real-world training and getting them into the pilot seat faster to help meet the increasing demand.

Sanjing Yin is a non-traditional student with English as her second language. The single mom of two is in her second year at Sinclair. 

After spending time in the sky as a flight attendant for Delta since 2018, she wanted a front seat with a dream of becoming a pilot.

“That is how I was born and raised. We always aim for the best we can,” says Sanjing. “We should never stop and stop chasing our dream.”

Enrolling in Sinclair’s Aviation Program, she’s on a non-stop path to achieving that her dream.

“As a mom I want to set a great example for my two girls,” says Sanjing.

With real-world experience at their fingertips, students get a feel for the pilot seat from people who’ve been in that seat before, like Aviation Program Coordinator Donna Hanshew.

“The faculty are retired military pilots, airline pilots. They have a wide variety of experience,” says Donna.

For Sanjing, Donna is more than a teacher, and she affectionately calls her her “Aviation Mom.”

“She is absolutely a go-getter. She’s fun to be around because she’s very excited about the program and what she’s doing here,” says Donna.

Offering everything from helicopter training to fixed-wing training, the program is taking students to the next level.

“Flying is fun, but learning to fly is hard,” says Sanjing.

Sanjing has her Commercial Pilot Certification and is on target to finish in about two years.

“She’s working on her multi-engine now, and then she’ll move on to her flight instructor rating,” says Donna.

When she graduates, the sky is the limit.

“Many of the students go to PSA Airlines here in Dayton, and they also go to Republic Airlines in Indianapolis,” describes Donna. “Some of them have gone to FedEx. Some of them have gone to American. The program works. They get everything they need.”

Sanjing says her long-term goal is to work for a major cargo airline, but she’s also keeping her options open.