AirplaneGeeks 374 Air Show Performer and Air Racer Vicky Benzing


Vicky Benzing

We talk with Vicky Benzing, a pilot, skydiver, aerobatic performer, and air racer. In the news, we have earnings reports for Boeing and some of the airlines, an air show parachutist lands in the crowd, an angle-of-attack indicator video for GA aircraft, the effect of Syrian sand on Russian jets, and Boeing fears the loss of the ExIm Bank.


Vicky Benzing is an accomplished pilot, skydiver, aerobatic performer, and air racer.  She has more than 7000 hours of flight time and over 1200 parachute jumps in a flying career spanning over thirty years. Vicky currently holds an Airline Transport Pilot rating as well as a commercial rating in helicopters and seaplanes.

Vicky BenzingWe talk with Vicky about aerobatic performances at air shows, including training and preparation, the “chicken dance,” the maneuvers Vicky likes, and which ones the audience likes. Also, the difference between flying the Stearman and flying high performance jets, how competing in the Reno Air Races compares to flying aerobatics at air shows, and what the crowd interaction means to a performer like Vicky. Along the way, Vicky tells us about skydiving and that the United States Parachute Association is a good resource for finding jump zones and advice.

In 2005, Vicky began training with air show legend Wayne Handley. She entered in aerobatic competitions throughout the US, and won first place in the Intermediate category in both the Northwest and Southwest Regional Championships in 2006. Two years later, she placed in the top 10 finishers at the US National Aerobatic Championships in the Advanced category.  

Vicky Benzing performing

Vicky Benzing performing

In between flying aerobatic competitions, Vicky began performing in air shows and today she focuses her energies on her airshow flying.  Vicky holds a surface level waiver and a formation card, and has flown well over 100 air show performances at venues across the US, including performing at the airshow during EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh.

In 2010, Vicky began racing in the National Championship Air Races.  She was chosen “Rookie of the Year” twice by her fellow Sport and Jet Class racers, and made history in Reno this year as the “fastest woman” racer ever in the history of the Reno Air Races, flying Dianna Stanger’s one-of-a-kind L-139 jet on the race course at 469.831 mph. See Live from the Reno Air Races with SkyChick and Team Darkstar for a video interview with Vicky and Dianna.

L-139 at Reno Air Races

L-139 Courtesy Dark Star Racing

In addition to her aviation pursuits, Vicky holds a PhD in Physical Chemistry from UC Berkeley and has enjoyed a successful career in the Silicon Valley high tech industry.  Vicky is currently Vice President of the Sport Class Air Racing Association and is on the Board of Directors of the Hiller Aviation Museum in San Carlos, CA.

Vicky is sponsored by APECS Aerospace Corporation, an engineering consulting firm that specializes in providing support to aviation maintenance repair organizations.  Other sponsors are Oregon Aero, maker of seating systems and helmet and headset upgrades and ASL Camguard, creator of advanced engine oil supplements to reduce engine wear.


Faster production of jets pushes up Boeing’s profits

Boeing Co. third quarter earnings were up 25 percent to $1.7 billion, and the company raised its earnings outlook for the year. In the quarter, Boeing delivered 199 commercial jets versus 186 jets a year ago.

Delta Air Lines CEO Richard Anderson said many wide-body jets coming off lease in the near future, will be available relatively cheaply, and will compete with new more fuel efficient jets.

American Airlines posts record profit but worries more about low-cost competitors like Spirit

Lower fuel spend helped jump net income 80 percent to $1.69 billion. Because 87 percent of American Airlines fliers fly only once a year and buy tickets based on price, next year American will offer cheap tickets with “less frills” on certain nonstop routes where it competes with discount carriers.

Alaska Air reports record profits from its busiest summer ever

The airline reported record quarterly profit of $274 million, and the busiest summer in the airline’s 83-year history.

Southwest Airlines reaps record $584M quarterly profit

With record net income of $584 million on revenue of $5.32 billion for the quarter, Southwest beat the same quarter last year which had net income of $324 million on revenue of $4.8 billion. The company put $228 million into its profit-sharing program.

Cheap fuel helped Delta set record profits

Delta’s operating margin grew to 21 percent and earnings per share were up 45 percent. Delta saved $1.1 billion in fuel costs year-over-year last quarter.

Allegiant Air profits leap 213 percent in 3rd quarter

Lower energy costs contributed to good financial performance and profitable growth of the network.

United, in turmoil, reports drop in revenue

United Continental saw lower sales for the quarter and missed its profit forecast.

Parachutist crashes into tent at Wings Over Houston Air Show

At the Wings Over Houston Airshow, a parachutist from a vintage Lockheed C-60 and using a WWII-era parachute landed in the crowd and took down a small tent. He suffered a broken limb. No spectators were injured.

FAA Video Provides Primer On AOA Displays

For those looking for an introduction to angle-of-attack indicators in GA aircraft, the FAA has a new video to get started. The 19-minute video includes an introduction to angle-of-attack indicators, their use and general advice on installation in airplanes – plus references to FAA documents for further research. It also has demonstrations of three AOA indicators in the market – Alpha Systems, Bendix King, and Safe Flight. The devices have gained increased attention in the last year as the FAA’s safety arm focused on studying loss-of-control accidents, which can be mitigated with AOA indicators, the agency said.

Harsh conditions are foiling Russian jets in Syria

Russia is finding it difficult to keep its military aircraft in the air in Syria. A significant percentage of its attack planes and transport aircraft are grounded.

​Boeing CEO: Losing Export-Import Bank “means loss of jobs”

Boeing is concerned that Congress will not reauthorize the ExIm Bank, which acts as the official export credit agency of the United States federal government.

The Australia News Desk

Airline boss promises ‘a tiger can change its stripes’

The boys are back and the comedy flows as they report on Tiger Airways apparently improving their customer experience and even getting a new call center. Steve is less than enthused!

Qantas to unveil Retro Roo II in November

He is, however, rather excited about the next Retro Roo colour scheme from Qantas. As we record an existing 737-800 is in the paintshop at Townsville getting one of the old Qantas paint schemes applied. We’re hoping for the V-Jet look.

Virgin to sell entire Fokker 50 fleet

Meanwhile, Grant gets to run his Big Motor Fokker vs Little Motor Fokker joke as Virgin are selling off all their Fokker 50s.

An Evening with Matt Hall

Finally, Steve’s going to be Em-Cee for the Angel Flight charity dinner at Bankstown in Sydney on Saturday, October 31, 2015. Get on down and support the cause if you’re in the area!

OzRunways with Matt Hall


AOPA Live This Week for October 22, 2015 has a really good special report from the Red Bull Air Races in Las Vegas. Matt Hall from Australia (and frequently heard on Plane Crazy Down Under) won the race. Second place finisher Paul Bonhomme from Great Britain won the championship.

These are the 15 coolest airline paint jobs in the skies What airline do you think has the coolest livery?

Reclining seat to blame? Southwest flight returns to LAX after ‘altercation’

Crammed-in jet passengers get uptight when the seat’s not upright

Inside the RAF – Britain’s Ultimate Pilots Episode 1 2015


Opening and closing music courtesy Brother Love from the Album Of The Year CD. You can find his great music at


One thought on “AirplaneGeeks 374 Air Show Performer and Air Racer Vicky Benzing

  1. Jamie

    The angle of attack awareness video was brilliant. I think it probably should be installed in our civil aviation aircraft and save many lives

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