Vicky Benzing in the 1940 Boeing Stearman to Take flight at Laughlin Bullhead Airshow

Published by The Bee News

February 20, 2023

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Laughlin Bullhead Airshow Takes Flight on April 1st

Bullhead City, AZ – The Bullhead Laughlin Airshow would like to announce its latest performer, Vicky Benzing flying her Boeing Stearman.

Vicky’s beautiful Stearman was manufactured in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1940 by the Boeing Aircraft Company for use as a military trainer. It served during World War II at air bases in Mississippi, Georgia, and Alabama, where hundreds of pilots learned to fly in it.

In February of 1946 after the war ended, this airplane was transferred to Eagle Field in Dos Palos, California and sold from the War Assets Administration for $770.

The airplane’s new owner fitted it with a 450hp Pratt & Whitney R985 engine and converted it to a crop duster where it was used for spraying operations in California’s Sacramento Valley until 1973 when it was disassembled and put into storage.

In 1990, the airplane was taken out of storage and restored by Stadel Aircraft based in Yuba City, California. It was converted back from a restricted category crop duster to a standard acrobatic category aircraft.

Purchased in 1998, Vicky bases the airplane at the Pine Mountain Lake Airport near Yosemite, California. She loves to fly the airplane at air shows in an aerial display of power and grace in the spirit of early barnstorming.

Except for the engine and a smoke system, Vicky’s Stearman remains as originally built 75 years ago. The airplane has two ailerons instead of four ailerons like most Stearman that are flown in airshows. Hence it takes 2 hands on the stick and a lot of muscle for Vicky to roll it – and it rolls very slowly.

Without an inverted fuel system, Vicky’s engine will quit if she holds the airplane upside down. Vicky has learned to keep positive G’s on her Stearman at all times, just as the WWII pilots would have done.

Vicky considers herself lucky to be a steward of this timeless piece of history.

The Laughlin Bullhead Airshow is an event that has something for everyone, from aviation enthusiasts to families looking for a fun day out. With a lineup of talented aerobatic performers, military demonstrations, and interactive displays, the airshow promises to be an unforgettable experience for all who attend.

This event is brought to you by the following: Presenting Sponsor Findlay Motors, Top Gun Sponsor: DOT Foods, Cadet Sponsor: National Bank of Arizona, along with the partnerships from the City of Bullhead, Laughlin Tourism Commission, Laughlin Chamber of Commerce, Bullhead Area Chamber of Commerce, and Laughlin Bullhead International Airport.

For more information about the Laughlin Bullhead Airshow, visit the airshow website at www.laughlinbullheadairshow.com.

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