Shane Pitt is living his childhood dream' taking to the skies with a recently acquired Private Pilot's Licence (PPL)' thanks to CQUniversity's Aviation training.
The 39-year-old was recently presented with his epaulettes and set of wings at CQU's Bundaberg campus where he spoke highly of the University's Bachelor of Aviation course.
"Ever since I was a kid I've always wanted to fly'" he said.
"At the time I felt it would be the closest I could get to being a superhero. Unfortunately' when I was younger the only way to become a pilot was to either pay for it out of pocket or join the air force' neither of which I was able to do."
Although he originally had his eyes set on an Engineering course at CQU' a presentation by CQU's aviation lecturer' Dr Mike Malouf convinced him otherwise.
"During careers week Dr Malouf gave a wonderful presentation that inspired me to change my career path. Up until that time I didn't realise CQU even offered this type of opportunity'" he said.
"(The course) has its challenges though. There is so much involved in learning to become a pilot that sometimes it feels overwhelming' but the support from the lecturers and fellow students is outstanding.
"The aviation community is a close-knit group and I've been very fortunate to be a part of that."
Currently just shy of 100 flight hours' Shane is proud to have attained his Private Pilot's Licence.
"It's surreal to think I can now fly myself anywhere in the country. I guess the closest word I could use to describe such a feeling is 'free''" he said.
"There is nothing else in the world like being in command of an aircraft and cruising the skies."
Shane hopes to one day be a commercial pilot flying long hauls all over the world.
"But the thing about being a pilot is that you're not just restricted to flying one type of plane or to stay in one type of career'" he said.
"There are so many opportunities available' including flight instructor' cargo transport' sightseeing' Royal Flying Doctor Service' airline pilot and many more. These job opportunities can take you anywhere in the world' it's just up to you to make it happen.
"There is nothing else in the world like flying. That first time going solo is indescribable. Every step is an accomplishment towards the ultimate goal of getting paid to do something I love. I feel this is why the community of aviation is so close-knit. Every student and lecturer involved is passionate about aviation. If there are those out there who are too' they should come and join CQU aviation."