Number of females flying at air races rises

RENO, Nev. (KOLO) Pilots from around the country and world are back in Reno for the Stihl 55th National Championship Air Races. This year, there are more women than ever before.

"That gives a lot of extra pressure," Merce Marti, an international pilot from Barcelona, says. "I'm here for learning and experience and who knows, next year will be even better."

Marti is one of at least six women flying. This is her first year racing in the Formula One Class.

"When I sit inside the cockpit, I transform myself and be ready when they put the green flag down," Marti says.

Vicky Benzing races both Sport and Jet Class. She says it's humbling to be able to influence and inspire young women.

"I truly think everybody needs a role model and I'm happy to be a role model and maybe help some young girl figure out that flying is her passion," Benzing says.

Merce says to represent her country and women everywhere is a dream come true.

"When you are a kid, you know what the race is in Reno," Marti says. "Now being a part of that and being here enjoying and being safe."

The air races run through Sunday, September 16.