Road to Wings- Jason Tabor

Road to Wings

By Jason Tabor

I grew up around general aviation as I spent time with my grandfather.  He was a private pilot and owned a small single-engine aircraft that he kept in Loris, SC. The airport was a one runway rural airport with only a few aircraft parked on the ramp. I learned to ride my bicycle and spent many days hanging out at the airport looking forward to the next airplane ride.  I’ll always remember him telling me to keep an eye out for other aircraft, and that I was part of the crew sitting in the co-pilot seat, even as a child. I remember dreaming that I could be the pilot someday.

During high school, I continued to have an interest in aviation and wanted to be a pilot like my grandfather. I found a private pilot ground school class at Midlands Technical College, but I was not old enough to attend.  Therefore, my father enrolled in the class and took me with him where I was able to complete my written test for private pilot.  I had charts plastered on my bedroom wall in high school and I wanted to learn everything! The more I learned the more I had a hunger to know more.

To pay for the lessons I worked as an airplane washer at our local airport. I would go straight from high school to work and would clean the aircraft as they came out of the hangar. I continued to work at any position that they would allow me to do, including driving a tug, forklift, truck, cleaning, and loading cargo using my salary for flight lessons. I continued to complete all of my certificates and the same boss I had as an airplane washer offered me a job flying a corporate jet out of Boston.  This was my big break! I have loved every minute of flying since my first flight.  Currently, I enjoy helping others fulfill their dreams and full potential through various mentorship programs.  I had the opportunity to be a Captain on the Boeing 737 and have flown many other aircraft with many great professionals around the world.  I still believe that a pilot has the best office in the world.

I had the opportunity to fly many movie stars and celebrities. I also had the chance to meet Buzz Aldrin and fly Neil Armstrong, two of the Apollo 11 astronauts that walked on the moon. When times were difficult, I was still rewarded with incredible opportunities and circumstances that most people would not have the chance to experience.  That is why I always focus on the positive and never give up.

Whether you chose to fly for fun or to be a Captain of an airliner, you have a unique set of skills and are part of an exclusive club that will always challenge you to be better. Surround yourself with like-minded individuals and continue to focus on your passion. Understand that there will be setbacks but continue to be focused and goal oriented and I am confident that when you reach your goal it will have all been worth it.

Every time I push the thrust levers forward on takeoff it brings me back to the moment with my Grandfather on my very first flights in rural South Carolina. The incredible feeling of flying an aircraft is unique and rewarding. Through hard work and determination, and a passion for flying, a pilot is truly the best job you could ever imagine. The Lyons foundation is an incredible opportunity to get your foot in the door into an exciting and rewarding career. Giving back to the profession and helping others along the way is a cornerstone of what aviation is all about.