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Late IAC President Vicki Cruse Honored by Ninety-Nines with Memorial Scholarship

Scholarship namesake died while flying for USA at World Aerobatic Championships

September 10, 2009 — The achievements and legacy of the late Vicki Cruse, International Aerobatic Club president and Experimental Aircraft Association director, will live on through a memorial scholarship established by women pilots from the Ninety-Nines and aviators throughout the world.

The Vicki Cruse Memorial Scholarship, which will be administered through the Ninety-Nines’ Amelia Earhart Memorial Scholarship Fund, will provide financial aid to women pilots for emergency maneuver and aerobatic training.  The scholarship will be officially announced at the Sept. 12 “Celebration of Life” at the Santa Paula, Calif., airport that honors Cruse, who died on August 22 while representing the United States at the World Aerobatic Championships in England.   

“Vicki touched many of our lives, inspiring some to pursue advanced training, or even become aerobatic competitors themselves,” said Marion Nauman, past chairwoman of the Ninety-Nines’ Ventura County (Calif.) chapter, Cruse’s home chapter within the international organization, as well as an EAA member and aircraft builder.  “While we enjoyed her spunk and wry humor while she was with us, her exceptional determination and focus should be shared with others. Vicki’s devotion to perfecting flying skills and her many accomplishments will serve as an inspiration to future generations of pilots.”

The Ventura County 99s have established a “Remembering Vicki” web site at http://ennect.com/e808 as a tribute to Cruse and a way for the aviation community to contribute to the scholarship.  Each dollar donated to the Vicki Cruse Memorial Scholarship over the next five years will be matched, up to a maximum of $30,000, to create a solid foundation for women to pursue emergency maneuver and aerobatic flight training. The Ventura County 99s pledged $5,000 in matching funds, while Lightspeed Aviation has pledged to match up to a maximum of $25,000.

“Vicki was devoted to educating pilots about the safety benefits of emergency maneuver and unusual attitude training,” said Susan Liebeler, community relations and fundraising chairwoman for the Ventura County 99s, as well as the Southwest Section of the international Ninety-Nines organization. 

“Her devotion to flying and safety led those who knew her to preserve her memory by enabling others to become more precise and safe pilots through the Vicki Cruse Memorial Scholarship.”

Cruse, 41, won the U.S. National Unlimited Aerobatic Championship in 2007, and was a four-time member of the U.S. national team. She served as IAC president since 2005 and was also a board member of EAA and Unlimited Aerobatics USA Inc.  Along with other awards, she achieved the All Ten Achievement Award, 1998 U.S. Sportsman National Aerobatic Championship, and 1999 & 2000 Champion of the Americas.

“Vicki was a person whose life was changed and who found her purpose through aviation,” said Trish Deimer, IAC programs manager. “We know there are others who seek the same opportunities through flying, and that is why IAC and EAA support this scholarship through the Ninety-Nines.”
The Ninety-Nines, Inc., headquartered in Oklahoma City, Okla., is a nonprofit organization of women pilots that promotes aerospace education and training, provides aviation scholarships and preserves the unique history of women in aviation through the 99s Museum of Women Pilots and the Amelia Earhart Birthplace Museum.  Managed by trustees with the assistance of professional investment advisors, the 99s Amelia Earhart Memorial Scholarship Fund has provided aviation scholarships to approximately 500 women pilots since its inception in 1940. 

The International Aerobatic Club (IAC), headquartered in Oshkosh, Wis., is a division of the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA), serving as the world’s largest aerobatic organization with a mission to promote the safety and enjoyment of aerobatics.

For general information about the Sept. 12 Celebration of Life event at Santa Paula Airport, visit http://www.eaa.org/news/2009/cruse_invite.pdf.

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