Vicki’s Story- The Beginning
Vicki’s dream began when someone from NASA came to visit her 3rd grade class and she became hooked on flying in space! A couple years later there was a new terminal building built in the airport in her small town, and Vicki’s family took a ride out to see it. When Vicki’s dad saw a sign-up sheet for a new flight school, he thought of Vicki’s dream to be an astronaut, and he asked her if she wanted to go on an airplane ride. She said yes, and an exciting journey began!
When her other classmates played basketball, Vicki chose to go to private pilot ground school with adult students where she studied all about the plane and how to fly it properly. It was very challenging for a 5th grader! In fact, she took the course twice because she didn’t pass her final test the first time, but she did the second time! She took flying lessons from her instructor and kept practicing by flying to see her cousins in another town, flying on short cross-country trips, flying in an air show, and flying to
her sister’s graduation in another state. She handled it all very well and decided that she wanted an even bigger challenge, so she set a goal to fly across the United States. And, at the age of 11, she did!
It all started with a dream . . . what are your dreams?
On September 18, 1993, at the age of 11, Victoria (Vicki) Van Meter set a record. She became the youngest female pilot to make a transcontinental flight. In June of the following year, at the age of 12, she flew a Cessna 210 from Augusta, Maine to Glasgow, Scotland, establishing the record as the youngest female pilot to make a transatlantic flight. She continued on with stops in London, England, Paris, France, and Frankfurt Germany.
In her travels, Vicki served as a good-will ambassador for the City of Augusta, Maine, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and the United States of America. After her flights, she spoke across the country to people of all ages encouraging them to follow their dreams.
Vicki went on to earn a Bachelor of Science degree, summa cum laude from Edinboro University, Edinboro, Pennsylvania. After graduating, she served in the United States Peace Corps in the country of Moldova, taking pride in personal sacrifice and hard work. Vicki was an animal rights advocate, and an environmentalist, as well as a supporter of women’s and children’s rights. She enjoyed hiking in the red rocks and canyons of southern Utah where her family now resides.
Sadly, Vicki passed away in 2008, but the inspiration that she brought to others through her amazing accomplishments at such a young age still lives on.