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Space Camp Alumni Flying High Among Esteemed Pilots: Jason Tabor Alumni Story

Space Camp Alumni Flying High Among Esteemed Pilots 


Our Space Camp alumni are reaching great heights in careers all around the world, and Space Camp program alumnus Jason Tabor is no exception. His time at Space Camp and Aviation Challenge helped guide his passion for flying. Helping to cement his passion for flying and interest in making it a career. 

Growing up in Lexington, South Carolina Jason found his love of aviation at an early age and was fascinated with flying. His grandfather, an aviator himself, would take him flying as a child. Their flights together would ignite Jason’s interest in being a pilot himself and having an avid interest in learning more about flying aircraft. 

Preparing for Flight 

Jason found his way to Space Camp in 1989 and arrived at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center facility again for Aviation Challenge in 1992. These experiences helped to cement his love of aviation and fuel a passion for flying. His time at Space Camp was the first time away from home on his own, and he was able to build a confidence in his experiences at camp, knowing that he was meant to be in aviation. 


As a part of the Aviation Challenge, Jason was able to take part in activities that introduced him to many aeronautical concepts, including the chance to fly a basic simulator and demonstrate basic aerobatic maneuvers. His team at Aviation Challenge also flew model aircraft and spent time learning what it took to become a pilot. Learning survival skills, including the zip line into the lake, were one of his favorite activities at Aviation Challenge.  


Jason would go on to get his pilot’s license to fly small aircraft a few short years after his time at Aviation Challenge 

Having the ‘Right Stuff’ to Fly 

Flying planes isn’t without its challenges though. One experience in his youth found him piloting a Cessna 152 at the age of 18 that had engine trouble and required an emergency landing. He was trained for this exact scenario during his pilot trainings, although it is something you hope never happens. Jason successfully brought the plane to a landing in the middle of an empty field just north of a state park. An experience he would look back on later in his career and recall as being a foundation that, “Aviation is very safe, and the risks are mitigated through extensive training and preparation.” 


This training and preparation would continue to serve him well throughout his career. A good bit of passion helped as well. “I couldn’t focus on anything other than aviation and always dreamed of being paid to do something I enjoyed.”, said Jason when he spoke of his career path. 

He went on to graduate from EmbryRiddle Aeronautical University with a degree in Aeronautical Science. Jason flew night flights for the Federal Reserve Bank before moving into commercial airline service. When Jason joined United Airlines he had the opportunity to fly the Airbus 320, Boeing 737/757/767, and 777 model aircraft. Jason is also a volunteer with the Airline Pilots Association Mentor program and United Airlines Aviate program, to direct other pilots on their own path in aviation and meeting their personal goals. This breadth of experience led to become a full-time instructor in Denver for United Airlines in the Boeing 737 model aircraft.  


Paying it Forward as a Pilot Mentor 

Jason found a calling in mentoring and training other pilots. “The best part about being a mentor is seeing others succeed, and being able to witness that first hand.”  

And it also brought him back to his experiences at Space Camp and Aviation Challenge, that were at the beginning of it all. In his words, “Seeing others reach their goals not only makes them better, but makes me better simply by being in their presence.  My dad used to tell me to surround yourself with the best people, because they will continue to challenge you and bring you up.  I believe this was true when I attended Space Camp and Aviation Challenge and it is true in everything I do.  It is important to surround yourself with goal oriented successful individuals as they will be the ones that help bring your individual success to a new level. I am fortunate to work with the most amazing professionals that continue to challenge me and I continue to learn from others.” 

Jason is making a difference in aviation every day and helping new pilots set their course. We are honored to share this Space Camp alumni story, of a Space Camp alumnus achieving their goals and dreams through hard work and dedication to their craft.  


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