by Dave Weiman
Our cover photo for this issue of Midwest Flyer Magazine by Chris Bildilli features Vicky Benzing performing a knife-edge maneuver in her 1940 Boeing Stearman at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015 at Wittman Regional Airport, Oshkosh, Wisconsin. She also performs in an Extra 300S. But performing in air shows is but one of Vicky’s talents.
Born and raised in California, Vicky is also an aerobatic competitor, skydiver, air racer, and holds an Airline Transport Pilot Certificate, as well as a Commercial Pilot Certificate for helicopters, seaplanes, and gliders.
Vicky began racing in the National Championship Air Races in Reno, Nev., in 2010. Competing in the Sport Class, she won her first race ever and was chosen as the “Rookie of the Year” by her fellow racers. In 2013, Vicky qualified to race a Czech-built Aero Vodochody L-39 “Albatros” jet and was named “Rookie of the Year” for the Jet Class, finishing in the gold at 425.6 mph. Vicky won 1st place in both the Sport Silver and Jet Bronze Races in 2014. In 2015, she made history as the fastest woman racer ever in the history of the National Championship Air Races when she qualified in an L-39 at 469.831 mph. Vicky will be back at Reno flying the L-39, September 14-18, 2016 (http://airrace.org/).
In addition to her aviation pursuits, Vicky holds a PhD in Physical Chemistry from UC Berkeley, and has had a successful career in the Silicon Valley high-tech industry (www.vickybenzing.com).
The 64th annual Experimental Aircraft Association fly-in convention, EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2016, will be held July 25-31 (www.eaa.org/airventure).