James Jorgensen was born in Oslo, Norway where he spent an idyllic childhood until age 9 when his family moved to Geneva, Switzerland. Having long imagined a career in military aviation, being a citizen of two countries (Norway/USA) while residing in a third (Switzerland) made that difficult to pull off. He opted instead to study architecture in the United States after acceptance to Cornell University. During a semester abroad in Rome studying urban design while still looking skyward at passing aircraft, it became obvious that aviation was more than just a ‘phase’, so the degree in architecture in 1992 was followed quickly by a private pilot’s license paid for by doing construction work.
The construction work also paid for a 1965 Chevy Impala which enabled a westward ‘meandering’, ending in California in 1996. After 4 years as project architect in the offices of Obie Bowman Architect, with frequent business flights up the coast to Oregon in a rented Cessna, the licensing exam was eventually completed in 2002 and James struck out to pursue his own projects and a faster airplane. The projects encompassed remodels, private residences, small commercial projects and a speculative fly-in community development, while the plane was an experimental Varieze used to fly between them.
The Varieze led to a chance encounter with Dave Ronneberg at a fly-in, which led to a job offer and a 6 year stint as a design engineer and test pilot flying the Mobius OPA/UAV with Berkut Engineering and Design, Inc. This provided for many collaborative opportunities with engineers of various stripes and for lead roles in designing a successful camera door/elevator subject to a provisional patent filing by L-3 Communications, and a 1.4x turboprop version of the Mobius aircraft, which unfortunately never went beyond the mock-up stage.
When not working on customer projects or flying and working on aircraft, James is busy travelling with his wife or remodeling their house in Aptos, CA.
As a partner in School Street Design Company, James has a hand in architecture, design, CAD modeling, composites work and operations while still itching for a faster (and more useful) airplane. He’s working on it…