Deaf man working to achieve childhood dream of flight

Aviation Mechanic student in hangar lab
Zack Kukorlo, Bergstrom Aviation Mechanic, tends to annual inspections of an aircraft

Zack Kukorlo is a man who is an incredible example of what the human spirit can achieve when determination overcomes adversity.

“He’s already showed that the sky’s the limit, and he’s going to push that limit,” said Jackie Vazquez, Director of Maintenance for Bergstrom Aviation on the Tri-Cities Airport.

Bergstrom Aviation recently hired Zack as an aircraft mechanic, and his boss Vazquez said his resume blew him away.

“He had learned how to detect engine performance by using his hands, by using his chest,” Vazquez said. “Even though he lacked two of the senses, the others were enhanced.”

Zack is deaf and from young age he remembers dreaming about flight.

“Just being in the sky that’s always something that gives me such a rush,” Kukorlo said.

He loves airplanes and wants to become a pilot, but Zack said it’s challenging to overcome the barriers of his disability.

“It’s really hard to keep persevering and not give up, there are many things that seem like this is impossible,” he said. “But I needed to keep on believing that there is a way to be successful.”

Zack started his journey taking courses at Big Bend Community College in Moses Lake, where he recently earned his FAA Mechanics Certification in Airframe and Power Plant Maintenance. His certification even required a special exemption from the FAA just for him to be eligible.

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