A pilot and a stunt walker are dead after a plane crashed and exploded into flames at an Ohio air show Saturday. The 450 HP Stearman crashed around 12:45 p.m. near Dayton at the Vectren Air Show as thousands of spectators looked on in disbelief. No spectators were injured in the accident. A video of the scene showed the plane turning upside-down as the wing walker, Jane Wicker, sat on top of the wing. The plane then tilted and sped towards the ground. Spectators yelled out in terror as the plane exploded on the ground.
An aviation photographer, Ian Hoyt, was taking photographs at the air show. He was about to take a photograph when he saw the plane was flying “too low and too slow.” He said before he knew it, the plane had crashed. Hoyt said it appeared to him that the plane did not have enough air speed and that it had stalled. Hoyt also stated that the pilot appeared to steer clear of the crowd and probably saved lives.
The biplane was registered to Wicker, according to federal records. The pilot of the plane is suspected to be Charlie Schwenker. Jane Wicker’s Airshows’ Facebook page announced the deaths of Wicker and Schwenker. Ohio State Highway Patrol Lt. Anne Ralston and Daytona International Airport spokeswoman Linda Hughes confirmed the deaths of a stunt walker and pilot, but refused to release their names. The air show also refused to release the identities of the deceased. The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the crash. Another wing walker, Todd Green, fell to his death in 2011 at a Michigan air show as he attempted to perform a stunt on a helicopter. Jim LeRoy, a veteran stunt pilot, died in 2007 at the Dayton air show when his biplane crashed into runway and blew up in flames.
Wing walker, pilot die in crash at Ohio air show, www.palmbeachpost.com June 22, 2013
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