Wing walker, pilot killed in fiery Dayton airshow crash

DAYTON, Ohio, June 22 (UPI) -- A wing walker and her biplane pilot were killed in a fiery crash Saturday while doing a roll maneuver in front of a shocked airshow crowd in Dayton, Ohio.

Organizers said the rest of Saturday's Vectren Dayton Airshow events were canceled.


Dayton Director of Aviation Terrence Slaybaugh confirmed there were two deaths in the crash just before 1 p.m. EDT, the Dayton Daily News reported.

"Obviously this is a tragedy for what is a very small community," he said.

"Right now there is no conclusive answer about why the accident happened."

One of the dead was Jane Wicker, a wing walker who on the wing of an inverted 450 HP Stearman when it smashed into the ground, the newspaper said.

Charlie Schwenker was piloting the plane when it crashed, WDTN-TV, Dayton, said.

Shawn Warwick of New Knoxville, Ohio, said he was watching with binoculars when the plane crashed.

"I noticed it was upside down really close to the ground. She was sitting on the bottom of the plane," he said. "I saw it just go right into the ground and explode."

Griffin Hopkins, 15, of Englewood said he and two friends at first didn't know if it was a real crash.


"We didn't know if this was an act and they got out of the plane," Hopkins told the newspaper. "At first, we were like did they get out of the plane before it crashed?.

"We were just in shock and standing there. People were just in shock, everybody was kind of standing there looking at it."

Organizers said Sunday's event would go on as scheduled at Dayton International Airport.

Wicker became a certified pilot in 1989 and got into wing walking in 1990, when she began a 12-year association with the Flying Circus troupe, WDTN said.

"It is with sad hearts that we announce that Jane Wicker and Charlie Schwenker were tragically killed while performing at the Vectren Dayton Airshow," Jane Wicker Air Shows posted on the company's official Facebook page. "We ask for your prayers for the families and privacy of all involved and allow them time to grieve and work through these events."

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