She Departed Augusta To Set A Record, & Eventually Committed Suicide
At the age of 11 a young girl from Pennsylvania took off in a Cessna from the airport in Augusta for a trans-continental to San Diego, California.
Vicki Van Meter set a record that week in 1993 for being the youngest female pilot ever to fly cross country, the youngest person to fly 2900 miles, and the youngest person to ever complete a trans-continental flight. Amazingly so, she had begun to take flight lessons the prior year when she was 10.
Following the flight she told Bryant Gumbal of the Today Show that she wanted to work for NASA some day, and that the flight across the country "was bumpy in the air and made my stomach uneasy." That didn't stop her.
A year later she would hop into another small plane, a Cessna 210, this time rigged with special gas tanks that would take her from Goose Bay, Newfoundland, to Glasgow, Scotland, setting another record for being the youngest person, either male or female, to do so.
Following that flight Vicki Van Meter was even a bigger celebrity and would appear on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, visit the White House, and have a photo taken with NASA astronaut and United States Senator John Glenn.
People were amazed at how much she had matured and had also physically aged between the two flights.
After the first record setting flight a young Van Meter said that the reason she was doing it was because it would be "challenging", and apparently so was life, a challenge that she couldn't overcome, as the 26 year-old Van Meter would die from a self-inflicted gunshot wound in her hometown of Pennsylvania in 2008. Her family said she had been dealing with depression.
But for one short day back in 1993 the state of Maine received worldwide attention, and an adventurous, courageous, and very young girl, did so as well.