Born and raised in California, Vicky Benzing is an accomplished pilot, skydiver, aerobatic performer, and air racer. With over 9500 hours of flight time and over 1300 parachute jumps, Vicky has a passion for everything airborne. Her flying career has spanned over forty years and she currently holds an Airline Transport Pilot rating as well as a commercial rating in helicopters, seaplanes, and gliders.Vicky still remembers her first flight in her uncle’s airplane when she was just a small child. Inspired by that flight at a very young age, Vicky learned to fly in a family friend’s antique Taylorcraft in her hometown of Watsonville, on the California coast.
She was thrilled by the spins, loops, and rolls that her ex-military instructor taught her and subsequently took aerobatic instruction from legendary pilot Amelia Reid. Vicky’s aerobatic flying took a brief back seat while she earned her PhD in Chemistry from UC Berkeley and began working in the Silicon Valley high tech industry where she worked her way up through the ranks, ultimately becoming the Vice President of Technology of a $2B semiconductor capital equipment company. But her passion for spins, loops, and rolls never left her and she soon returned to her aerobatic roots after a very memorable aerobatic flight with air show legend, Wayne Handley.
In 2005, Vicky began her aerobatic training in earnest. She began competing in aerobatic contests throughout the US, working her way up through the many categories. In between contests, Vicky also began performing in local air shows. Today Vicky holds a surface level aerobatic waiver and has flown hundreds of air show performances at venues across the United States, including as an invited performer at the greatest airshow in the world, EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, WI. In addition to aerobatics, Vicky got the racing bug when a friend invited her to “come play in my sandbox” at the National Championship Air Races in Reno, NV. In her first year of racing, Vicky was chosen as “Rookie of the Year” after having won her first race ever, and in 2015 Vicky became the “Fastest Woman Racer” ever in the history of the Reno Air Races when she qualified an Aero Vodochody jet on the race course at 469.831 mph. Last month, Vicky flew her Lancair Legacy “Lucky Girl” to a third place finish in the Sport Gold Class and an L-39 jet named “Robin” in the Jet Gold Class final.
Vicky currently serves as an officer of Racing Jets Inc. Vicky is also a member of the Screen Actors Guild and has had the opportunity to fly in a number of film, television, and other media projects. Vicky can be seen flying her beautiful Boeing Stearman in the documentary film “Mercury 13” which is currently airing on Netflix. Other film and television projects include episodes of “Ice Pilot” and “NCIS LA,” “Walker Texas Ranger,” and extensive stunt work in her Stearman for the short film “Niner Echo Foxtrot.” And now open in Las Vegas NV is the immersive flight- ride experience, “FlyOver Las Vegas - The Real Wild West,” where Vicky can been seen barrel-rolling her bright red Stearman across the sky. Earlier this year, Vicky was honored along with six other very accomplished women in aviation at the Palm Springs Air Museum’s annual gala. A painting of Vicky now hangs on their Wall of Fame.