A stunt went terribly wrong at an Ohio Dayton Air Show on Saturday, a wing walker and her pilot were killed. The crash happened about 12:45 p.m.
The attendees of the Vectren Air Show at the Dayton International Airport, gathered to see a wing walker hang from underneath the plane’s wing by her feet and sit on the bottom of the airplane while it turned upside down, but something went wrong, causing the plane to crash to the ground and explode.
None of the attendees to the show were injured but the wing walker and pilot were killed.
An aviation photographer at the show, Ian Hoyt, said he had just raised his camera to take a shot when he realized the plane was too low and too slow, “before I knew it, they hit the ground.”
According to Hoyt the plane appeared to stall and didn’t have enough air speed. Hoyt and his girlfriend were excited to see the scheduled performer, Jane Wicker, the wing walker.
Another attendee, Shawn Warwick watched the show through binoculars. “I noticed it was upside-down really close to the ground. She was sitting on the bottom of the plane. I saw it just go right into the ground and explode” he said.
According to records, the plane was registered to Wicker, who lived in Loudon, Va. In an interview with WDTN-TV this week, she said her signature move was hanging underneath the plane’s wing by her feet and sitting on the bottom of the airplane while it was upside-down.
“I’m never nervous or scared because I know if I do everything as I usually do, everything’s going to be just fine.” she told the station.
Wicker’s facebook page promises a magnificent performance “Prepare yourself, for this is like no other wing walking act you’ve ever seen. Keep your eyes skyward as Jane will shock you with her daring hang down beneath the wing of Aurora. However, the grand finale will surprise you even more as the airplane rolls inverted as she hangs, leaving her sitting on the bottom of the airplane during the dramatic inverted pass.”
The biplane, which is the plane used in the stunt, is a fixed-wing aircraft with two main wings stacked one above the other.
Wicker explained that a lot of practice and fine tuning goes into the training for the stunt and the airplane undergoes microscopic care. She said it is managed risk but that was what keeps her alive.
The show closed earl due to the accident, but will open again on tomorrow. The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating.
The air show usually attracts about 70,000 people but organizers were expecting at least a 30 percent drop in attendance this year due to the military participants not being able to take part because of budget cuts. The airshow is one of the oldest in the U.S.
Linda Hughes, an Airport spokeswoman and Highway Patrol Lt. Anne Ralston, verified the deaths of the pilot and the wing walker, but did not release the identities.
By: Veverly Edwards