Maybe it is because EAA is there, or because the abundant farm land yields itself to aviation, but there is something about Wisconsin that makes it an incubator for aviators. Over the years we have met a disproportionate amount of pilots that hail from the Badger State. One of our newest flight instructors adds to that total, and brings with her the midwestern hospitality and cheerfulness that helps to make Wisconsin our favorite summer getaway.
Tess, in true Wisconsin form, is not the first in her family to fly. She grew up in an Air National Guard household. Her father flew A-10’s and F-16’s for the WIANG while also flying for a major airline. That afforded the family the opportunity to travel via their own Piper Cherokee, an experience that all but cemented Tess’s path towards the cockpit.
If that wasn’t enough, she would travel in the family Cherokee with her father and grandfather to the greatest aviation celebration on the planet, EAA’s Airventure held annually in Oshkosh, WI. There they would camp for the week, visit with friends, gaze at the endless ocean of aircraft, and foster and ever deeper love of flying. She remembers traveling to EAA when she was as young as 3-years-old.
Upon graduating from high school, there was no doubt that Tess was going to become a professional pilot. She eschewed a four year college degree for a time, opting to complete her flight training first. She did so with incredible efficiency at a destination flight school in Tampa, FL. While those training environments do not work for every aspiring pilot, Tess’s lifelong involvement with aviation lowered the learning curve. Her training was conducted as part of United Airlines Aviate program, which provides a gateway to a future career with the legacy carrier.
Airline flying is not her only career ambition. She intends to follow in her father’s footsteps and fly with the Wisconsin Air National Guard. While they currently fly KC-135 Stratotankers and F-16’s, Tess is already thinking ahead. The Guard has started to transition away from the F-16’s in favor of the latest and greatest F-35, an airplane Tess intends to fly.
Tess is quick with a smile and laugh but beneath the surface lies a powerful ambition and a wealth of knowledge that most adults her age do not have. We are fortunate to have her on our team as she is a talented pilot, and an effective instructor. This homegrown pilot has a significant career ahead of her and we were lucky to be a part of it. Welcome, Tess.