Alumna Vicky Benzing pursues second career as an air racer

August 21, 2018

Vicky Benzing performs air stunt

image: Alumna Vicky Benzing performs an aerobatic stunt (photo: performers we love website)

Vicky Benzing (Ph.D. Chem, ’86) always wanted to fly. While pursuing her first passion for Math and Chemistry, she earned her Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry at UC Berkeley. At the same time she also earned her private pilot certificate. Benzing went on to fly as a hobby while she built her successful career in the tech industry working for Tektronix, Sharp and Novellus Systems (which was bought by Lam in 2012.). Her passion for flying took over as a second career when she retired from Novellus Systems in 2012.

Born and raised in California, Benzing is now an accomplished pilot, skydiver, aerobatic performer, and air racer with over 8,000 hours of flight time and over 1,200 parachute jumps. She has a passion for everything airborne. Her flying career has spanned more than thirty years and she currently holds an airline transport pilot rating as well as commercial ratings in helicopters, seaplanes, and gliders.

Vicky BenzingIn 2005, Vicky began her aerobatic training in earnest. She started 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 over 200 air show performances at venues across the United States, including performing at the largest airshow in the world, EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, WI.

Benzing is an inspiration to women everywhere. When she started flying she was one of a few females working in the industry. Now more women are being inspired to pursue their goals and dreams because of people like her who show that it can be done. “Really, it’s a great time to be alive as a woman,” Benzing said. “I want young girls to see me and know that girls can do anything guys can do. Train hard. Work harder. You can do anything.”

More Information:

Performers we love 
Vicky Benzing the fastest women in motorsports

California aeronautical university and air show performer team up