Meadville Tribune

Local News

March 18, 2008

Noted pilot Vicki Van Meter dies

Victoria (Vicki) Van Meter, 26, of Meadville — who first gained fame at age 11 when she made a solo airplane flight across the United States — has died.

Crawford County Chief Deputy Coroner Scott Schell said Van Meter’s body was found Sunday about 5 p.m. by a neighbor, Michael Thiess, at her home at 902 Grove St.

A year after her cross-country flying adventure, Van Meter was in the news again when she made a solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean. On both flights, she was accompanied by an experienced pilot, but did all the flying herself.

Those flights brought her widespread fame. She made many TV appearances, was a guest at the White House and more recently was one of 47 pilots featured in “Women and Flight — Portrait of Contemporary Women Pilots” — a traveling exhibit now showing at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.

Schell ruled Van Meter died late Saturday evening at her home from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Schell said her parents, Corinne and Jim Van Meter, were out of town at the time. Her father told Schell that Vicki had been working for an investigative firm.

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