Jessica Voruda (Wisconsin)

Jessica Voruda is based at KOSH, Wittman Regional Airport, Oshkosh, Wisconsin.

Where to begin… I’m a child of Oshkosh, Wisconsin so my love of aviation is rooted in an upbringing surrounded by the sights and sounds of the annual EAA Fly-Ins. I’ve seen just about every aircraft at one point or another as they flew over my back yard. From the B-2 to the Concorde and everything in between, from big to small, slow and fast.

My grandfather was a naval aviator near the end of World War II. He trained at Navy Pier in Chicago and flew PBY Catalinas, as referenced by a logbook I found after his death containing 1300 hours in the PBY. When he was alive he claimed to have flown F4U Corsairs, though we could never prove it. When we were young he would take my brother and I regularly to the EAA Museum in Oshkosh. I have both my grandfather and my brother to thank for getting me hooked on aviation. I am currently the only one in my family that flies. My father was never interested in aviation and my brother hasn’t taken more than a couple lessons up to this point.

Right out of high school I dreamed of going into commercial aviation to become an airline pilot. This was not long after 9/11 and I didn’t hear the best things about the industry at that time. I had limited funding available to complete my flight training and I had been running into issues with motion sickness. I had unwisely chosen to take my flight training first thing in the mornings on a mostly empty stomach. Doing maneuvers like unusual attitude recovery, steep turns and some stalls really kind of did a number on me and I got less motivated to finish my flight training with the limited funds I had. I went on to pursue another dream career instead, becoming a professional touring musician.

Years later after I did the music thing, computer sales, IT consulting, and was a graphic and website designer. I found myself looking back at my love for aviation, but this time through a lens. I found an unexpected friend and mentor. With his assistance I started to bloom as a photographer. I have had some unforgettable experiences taking part in a large handful of air to air photography missions, over some of the most beautiful scenes you can imagine. There’s nothing like flying over spotty fog during sunrise with glass smooth mirrored water surfaces reflecting the bright colors of the sky set by the rising sun.

I’ve gone through a variety of careers over the last few years. Starting as a graphic designer and multimedia specialist for a kit aircraft manufacturer ending that job as an experimental aircraft avionics technician. During this job I was able to finish getting my pilots license and had the opportunity to fly a company aircraft across the country and back solo to both SUN ’n FUN and Oshkosh. I was able to make one of my life long dreams a reality by moving away from Oshkosh and flying myself in for the airshow to land on a colored dot. I moved to a new job to do avionics for a little while longer before learning that I missed doing photography professionally. I recently made the move back to Oshkosh and am working on several projects at once in and around the aviation community. I’m getting back into flying regularly and hope to start flying Young Eagles soon. Lots of adventures await and I’m greatly looking forward to it.

Ratings: Private Pilot Single Engine Land with Tailwheel Endorsement. Working toward complex | high performance, instrument rating, seaplane and multi engine. May throw the commercial in there at some point. 🙂

Aircraft flown:
Cessna 150
Cessna 172
Cessna 182
Cessna 210
Cessna 310
Piper J-3 Cub
Piper J-4 Cub Coupe
Piper PA-16 Clipper
Piper PA-28 Cherokee 140
Stinson 108
Boeing PT-17 Stearman
Waco UPF-7
Waco YKS-6
Czech Sport Cruiser
Vans RV-12
RANS S-7 Courier
RANS S-19 Venterra
RANS S-20 Raven
RANS S-18 Stinger II
RLU-1 Breezy
Lockwood Aircam
Pitts S-2A
Eclipse 550 Jet
de Havilliand DHC-1 Chipmunk

Favorite Taildragger: It’s too hard to decide on just ONE.. For now let’s say a Maroon and Cream Waco UPF-7.

Taildraggers look awesome. They’re a little bit of a challenge to fly properly. You need good stick/yoke and rudder coordination. Vintage aircraft from the early days were almost all taildraggers. Gotta love em!

Jessica can be found on Instagram and Facebook at http://instagram.com/jessicavoruda and https://www.facebook.com/JessicaVorudaPhoto/

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