Federal Safety Officials are set to investigate the fiery crash that killed both the wing walker and the pilot on Saturday, at the Vectren Dayton Airshow in Dayton, Ohio. The show has resumed after the tragic crash that left the plane in flames, and onlookers mortified. A wing walker is a specialized stunt person who walks the length of the plane and performs stunts while the plane is in flight. Jane Wicker was the aerial performer on Saturday June 22, 2013 who went down with pilot Charles Schwenker and the plane as it exploded upon contact with the field.
Host announcer is heard saying Jane Wicker “sitting on top of the world” only seconds before the plane twists in mid air and comes plummeting to the ground.
Jane Wicker was an experienced wing walker with quite a following; her facebook page boasted over 3000 fans, many of whom have shared their grief and condolences over her death. Her signature stunts included perching from the bottom of the wing while the plane was upside down and hanging from the wing by her feet. The 44 year old mother of two was not using safety harnesses or tether straps, her performance was completely free form. Viewing the footage, it is obvious that no amount of safety apparatus would have prevented her death, as the plane crashed suddenly and without warning of mechanical failure. More answers are expected to come now that Federal Safety Officials are set to investigate the fiery crash that killed both the wing walker and pilot.
My soul is fed by the air and I get a complete sense of fulfillment by not only the experience, but by challenging myself and doing something so uniquely different. I’m alive up there. To soar like a bird and touch the sky puts me in a place where I feel I totally belong. It’s the only thing I’ve done that I’ve never questioned, never hesitated about and always felt was my destiny
While her untimely death is a great loss to her family, friends and fans; it can be said that Jane Wicker did what she loved to do, and lived her life precisely in a way that her spirit desired. Her life was well lived, because she lived it to the fullest and in spite of the risks, never allowed fear to hold her back.
The veteran pilot, 64 year old Charles Schwenker, was himself renown and loved amongst fans and industry peers; having performed extensively throughout the U.S. Below is a video of his aerial acrobatics in 2011 Culpeper Airfest.
The show resumed on Sunday with a moment of silence to honour the daring performers. John King is president of the Flying Circus Airshow and spoke in high regards about both Jane and Charles.
“They were both dedicated to flying and the act. They were true, ultimate professionals,” King said. “I don’t know of anyone who could have done any better than what they were doing.”
In the aftermath of the tragedy, Federal Safety Officials are set to investigate the cause of the fiery crash that killed wing walker Jane Wicker and pilot Charlie Schwenker.
Facebook – Jane Wicker Airshows
Jane Wicker Airshows – Blog
NY Daily News – She Looked Very Scared:Witnesses’ Describe Stunt Performer
Russia Today – Dramatic video: Bi-plane crashes and explodes in flames
Topgunkg – 2011 Culpeper Airshow
WJHL – Charles Schwenker photo