Wings Magazine

Who says women can’t compete in air races? Team Darkstar proves it

In the macho world of competitive air racing, history is about to be made. Known to some as the Bad Girls of Air Racing, Team Darkstar will be the first all-female racing team to compete in the jet class at the Reno Air Races.  Dianna Stanger, owner of the one-of-a-kind Aero Vodochody L139 fighter jet, is an accomplished pilot and has selected well-known aerobatic airshow pilot, Vicky Benzing, to fly the aircraft.  Two women, one goal . . .take home the gold.

September 16, 2015  By SkyChick Adventures

Adventure pilot, Ramona Cox a.k.a. SkyChick, will be on-sight at the Reno Air Race to broadcast a free, real-time feed of Team Darkstar giving us an inside look into the minds of these gutsy women.  Join us to get a close-up look at the Darkstar racing team, including fascinating images of the various aircraft, live on Friday, September 18, starting at 10 AM PT / 1 PM ET / 17 UTC. Viewers can ask questions online using the hashtag #TheSkychick.

Darkstar Air Racing owner Dianna Stranger is well known in aviation circles. She is currently rated on numerous aircraft and owns the world’s only Aero Vodochody L139 Albatros, which will be highlighted in the live broadcast. The more common L-39 Albatros model version was originally designed as a combat jet training aircraft for Soviet, Czech and East German air forces, to name a few.

Darkstar Air Racing pilot Vicky Benzing is an accomplished skydiver, aerobatic performer, and air racer who holds a PhD in Physical Chemistry from UC Berkeley. Alongside a successful career in the Silicon Valley high tech industry, Vicky has over 7,000 flight hours and 1,200 parachute jumps to her name.

Says SkyChick Ramona Cox, “Last year Vicky won a Bronze in the Jet Class and was awarded Rookie of the Year.  She is an excellent role model for females and I hope other women will join me in cheering her on.”


Founded in 1964, The Reno Air Races, officially known as the National Championship Air Races, are currently comprised of six different race plane classes (Unlimited, T-6, Biplace, Formula One, Sport, Jet) flying approximately 60 feet from the ground, with the Unlimited and Jet classes reaching speeds over 500 mph.  The Darkstar Air Racing team will be competing in the Jet class with the L139.


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