Vicki Van Meter

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Vicki Van Meter
Vicki Van Meter.jpg
Vicki Van Meter, 11, leaving on her cross-country flight on September 20, 1993.
Born Victoria Louise Van Meter
(1982-03-13)March 13, 1982
Meadville, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Died March 15, 2008(2008-03-15) (aged 26)
Meadville, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Cause of death Suicide by gunshot
Residence Meadville, Pennsylvania, U.S. (1982–2008)
Nationality American
Alma mater Edinboro University of Pennsylvania
Occupation Aviator
Peace Corps
Known for Long-distance flying as a young pilot
Parent(s) Corinne Van Meter
James Van Meter
Relatives Brother: Daniel Van Meter
Sister: Elizabeth Van Meter
Website Official website

Victoria Louise "Vicki" Van Meter (March 13, 1982 – March 15, 2008[1]) was an American aviator. She set several "youngest pilot" distance-flying records. At the age of 11, she was the youngest pilot to fly east to west across the contiguous United States, and the youngest female pilot to cross in either direction.[2][3][4]

Early life[edit]

Van Meter first manipulated the controls of an airplane at the age of 10.[5] On September 20, 1993, at the age of 11, she made headlines when she flew from Augusta, Maine to San Diego, California in a Cessna 172.[1] A year later she flew a Cessna 210[6] over the Atlantic Ocean to Scotland.[7] After her flights, she appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno[8] and visited the White House.

In 2003 she was featured with 36 other female pilots in the traveling exhibit Women and Flight — Portrait of Contemporary Women Pilots,[9][10] based on a book of the same name by Carolyn Russo.[11]

Because of the Federal Aviation Reauthorization Act of 1996, signed into law by President Bill Clinton on October 9, 1996, after the death of Jessica Dubroff, it is no longer legal in the United States to attempt to set records as a student pilot, which effectively means that some of the records set by Van Meter will never be broken.[12]

Personal life[edit]

Van Meter served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Moldova after graduating from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania with a degree in criminal justice. She worked as an insurance company investigator and had made plans to pursue graduate studies.[1]


Van Meter died at her home in Meadville, Pennsylvania on March 15, 2008, from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, at the age of 26. She had been ill with depression.[1][9][13]


  1. ^ a b c d Plushnick-Masti, Ramit (2008-03-18). "Record-setting young pilot dies at 26". Associated Press. Archived from the original on March 20, 2008. Retrieved 2008-03-18. 
  2. ^ "Against the Wind, Girl Is Trying to Fly From Coast to Coast". The New York Times. 1993-09-21. Retrieved 2008-03-18. 
  3. ^ "Aerial Sports: The year in review". Encyclopædia Britannica. 1993. Retrieved 2011-04-17. 
  4. ^ The History and Physics of Flight, Minnesota Department of Transportation Office of Aeronautics p. 7 . Retrieved 2008-03-18.
  5. ^ Lawson, Carol (April 28, 1994). "At Home With: Vicki Van Meter; Apple Pie And Afterburners". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-03-18. 
  6. ^ Walsh, Lawrence (1994-07-05). "Pilot, age 12, takes off today to cross the sea". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 2008-03-18. 
  7. ^ "Pilot who flew cross-country at age 11 commits suicide". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Associated Press. 2008-03-18. Archived from the original on March 22, 2008. Retrieved 2008-03-18. 
  8. ^ Van Meter, Vicki (1995). Taking Flight: My Story By Vicki Van Meter. Viking Juvenile. p. 96. ISBN 0-670-86260-6. 
  9. ^ a b "Noted pilot Vicki Van Meter dies". The Meadville Tribune. 2008-03-18. Retrieved 2008-03-18. 
  10. ^ "Woman Aviators Exhibit to Open at Wright Brothers National Memorial". First Flight Centennial. 2003-12-03. Retrieved 2008-03-18. 
  11. ^ *Russo, Carolyn (April 1997). Women and Flight: Portrait of Contemporary Women Pilots. United States: Bulfinch Press. p. 192. ISBN 0-8212-2168-X. 
  12. ^ "H.R. 3539 [104th]: Federal Aviation Reauthorization Act of 1996". Retrieved 2010-12-04. 
  13. ^ Carroll, Jim (2008-03-18). "Ex-child pilot Van Meter dies at home". Erie Times-News. Retrieved 2008-03-18. 

Further reading[edit]

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