Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Dial up the Sad Meter; Record-setting Pilot Dead at 26

At age 11, Vicki Van Meter piloting a plane across the country. At age 12, she flew from the U.S. to Europe. Sadly, at age 26, she died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Her brother said she battled depression and opposed medication, but her family thought she had been dealing with her problems. "She was unhappy, but it was hard for her to open up about that and we all thought that she was coping," Daniel Van Meter said. "This really is a shock, because we didn't see the signs."

Van Meter made national headlines in 1993 and 1994 when she made her cross-country and trans-Atlantic flights accompanied only by a flight instructor. Her instructors said she was at the controls during the entirety of both flights.
After her famous youth, she earned a degree in criminal justice from Edinboro University in Pennsylvania and spent two years with the Peace Corps in Cahul, Moldova. Said her mother: "She led a full and interesting life...She had more guts than any of us could ever imagine."



Live Like You Were Dying said...

Shouldn't it be Vicki Airplane Meter?

Anonymous said...

She was planning on going to school and didn't get there. Peace Corps recommends you get your masters after service because of the career problems the work causes. It's possible she had PTSD. A lot of PCVs do and it's not addressed - leading to depression and suicide. The former Russian states PCVs were especially isolated by the US government; i.e. you get an email saying your not allowed to speak with them. She should have had PC pay for her psychiatrist and gone to school. It's sad, but this is a typical pattern.