On Saturday at the Dayton, Ohio Air Show a stunt plane carrying a wing walker crashed at the air show and exploded into flames Saturday, leaving two fatalities. The pilot and the wing walker were killed instantly, according to authorities. The CBS video of the air crash is below, viewer discretion is advised.
The crash of the 450 HP Stearman happened at around 12:45 p.m. at the Vectren Air Show at Dayton International Airport. No spectators were hurt.
The horrific incident was caught on film by a CBS Dayton affiliate, WHIO-TV who was filming the air show. In the video, the plane turns upside down, as part of the act, while the announcer talks about what the flying team are doing. Once the plane turns over, it tilts and then crashes into the ground exploding into flames in front of the stunned and horrified crowd.
Speaking to WHIO-TV, Stan Thayer of Wilmington, Ohio said, “All of a sudden I heard screaming and looked up and there was a fireball.”
Another Ohio resident, Shawn Warwick from New Knoxville, Ohio said he was watching the plane through binoculars. He told the CBS affiliate that, “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 that his wife was getting a drink when the crash happened, she told the CBS station, “I came back, and everybody was just in shock.”
An aviation photographer and licensed pilot from Findlay, Ohio named Ian Hoyt was at the show with his girlfriend. He told The Associated Press that he was taking photos as the plane passed by and had just raised his camera to take another shot.
He said, “Then I realized they were too low and too slow. And before I knew it, they hit the ground.” He also said that he could’t tell just what happened but it seemed to him that the plane stalled and did not have the air speed it needed to right itself.
“I’m still shaking,” Hoyt said. He explained that he had been excited to see the show because he’d never seen the scheduled performer,wing walker Jane Wicker, in action before.
Federal records show that the biplane was registered to Ms Wicker, who lived in Loudon, Va. The Dayton, Ohio Air Show crash that left two fatalities has left the small community stunned.
Terrence Slaybaugh, Dayton’s director of aviation, confirmed to WHIO-TV that two people died in the crash. He said, “Obviously this is a tragedy for what is a very small community.”
Airport spokeswoman Linda Hughes and Ohio State Highway Patrol Lt. Anne Ralston confirmed the deaths of a pilot and stunt walker to the Associated Press. The air show also said that it would not be immediately releasing the identities of the two dead stunt performers.
The show was canceled for the rest of the day, but organisers have said that events will resume on Sunday. The National Transportation Safety Board said it is investigating the crash.
Wicker’s website says she responded to a classified ad from the Flying Circus Airshow in Bealeton, Va., in 1990, for a wing-walking position, thinking it would be fun. She was a contract employee who worked as a Federal Aviation Administration budget analyst, according to the FAA.
In an interview on WDTN-TV earlier this week she said that her signature move was hanging underneath the plane’s wing by her feet and sitting on the bottom of the airplane while it’s upside-down. She said, “I’m never nervous or scared because I know if I do everything as I usually do, everything’s going to be just fine.”
Wicker wrote on her website that she had never had any close calls. Her words on the site stated that the moves people saw in the air were a managed risk and that they took an enormous amount of care to keep things from going wrong.
She said on her site’s statement, “What you see us do out there is after an enormous amount of practice and fine tuning, not to mention the airplane goes through microscopic care. It is a managed risk and that is what keeps us alive.”
Organizers were presenting a scaled-down show this year due to the Air Force Thunderbirds and other military participants pulled out this year because of federal budget cuts.
The air show is one of the country’s oldest and it usually draws around 70,000 people.
Sadly and tragically, the Dayton, Ohio Air Show Plane crash left two fatalities and a linger feeling of horror at the days events. The organisers have stressed that the show will continue on Sunday. No one was available for comment from Ms Wicker’s family. The video below is quite disturbing, viewer discretion is advised.
By Michael Smith