Memorial Set For Aerobatics Pilot Vicki Cruse

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A memorial event to celebrate the life of Vicki Cruse will be held Saturday, Sept. 12, at her hangar on Santa Paula Airport in California, EAA said this week. Cruse, who was president of the International Aerobatic Club, died in the crash of her Edge 540 while participating as a member of the U.S. Unlimited Aerobatic team at the World Aerobatics Championships in England on Aug. 22. She was a former U.S. Aerobatic Champion and Reno racing pilot. The celebration is scheduled to begin at 11:30 a.m. Those planning to attend are asked to RSVP and indicate whether they plan to arrive by plane or by car. For more information and contact info, see the flyer created for the event.

Cruse was flying the early-round 'Q' program when "she was unable to recover from a 1 1/4 snap on a downline," according to the team blog. She had served as IAC president since 2005. EAA President Tom Poberezny said Cruse epitomized professionalism in the sport. "Vicki was an outstanding competitor and was passionate about flying, her leadership as IAC president, and as an EAA director," Poberezny said. "Her flying skills and enthusiasm were highly valued. This is a tremendous loss for aviation, EAA and IAC. Our condolences go to Vicki's family and many friends." The championship match continued after the accident, as a tribute to Cruse. "She would most certainly have wanted us to continue, there is no doubt in my mind," Mike Heuer, president of the Commission Internationale de Voltige Aerienne, wrote in the event blog. On opening day, the U.S. team paid tribute to Cruse with a traditional "missing man" formation fly-by. "It was a very moving and emotional moment for all of us," wrote Heuer. Three other aerobatics and racing pilots recently were lost in crashes -- Chandy Clanton, a former U.S. Team pilot, was killed in July while practicing in Missouri; Reno Air Races pilot Gary Miller died when his SNJ named Mystical Powers crashed and burned near Kiowa, Colo., also in July; and Svetlana Fedorenko, a world champion aerobatics pilot, lost her life in August while flying a Yak-52 a training flight in Russia. A student also died in that crash.