Horrific: Photos showing the tragic moment a stunt-woman’s plane crashed to the ground in Ohio


Jane Wicker (wingwalker) from her facebook albums called Jane Wicker Airshows. She and her pilot died in a crash in Ohio, June 22, 2013. Her pilot, Charlie Schwenker, also died in the crash.

VIA FACEBOOK

Jane Wicker (left) and her pilot Charlie Schwenker were killed instantly in a horrific crash in Ohio Saturday afternoon.

In split seconds, thousands of spectators gasped in horror and even caught the look of fear on a stunt performer’s face as her airplane pummeled straight into the ground killing both the wing walker and pilot.

Such was the tragic and heart-stopping sight recalled by witnesses one day after the Vectren Air Show’s fiery crash Saturday near Dayton, Ohio.

Jane Wicker (left) and pilot Charlie Schwenker perform their act high above the Vectren Air Show on Saturday afternoon shortly before their fatal crash.

THANH V. TRAN/AP

Jane Wicker (left) and pilot Charlie Schwenker perform their act high above the Vectren Air Show on Saturday afternoon shortly before their fatal crash.

“She looked very scared,” Thanh Tran, of Fairfield, said of veteran stuntwoman Jane Wicker just as her plane nosedived. “Then the airplane crashed on the ground. After that, it was terrible, man … very terrible.”

Some spectators said they knew something was wrong because the plane piloted by Charlie Schwenker was flying low and slow.

The stunt plane tips over and loses control just before crashing. The accident killed the pilot and the wing walker instantly, authorities said.

THANH V. TRAN/AP

The stunt plane tips over and loses control just before crashing. The accident killed the pilot and the wing walker instantly, authorities said.

“As a pilot, you accept the fact that accidents do happen — it’s an accepted risk we take,” John King, president of the Flying Circus Airshow, which employed Wicker said Sunday.

The air show in southwestern Ohio reopened Sunday with a moment of silence as they remembered the fearless life both Wicker and Schwenker tragically left behind.

Flames erupt from her stunt plane after it crashed during her wing walker performance at the Vectren Air Show.

THANH V. TRAN/AP

Flames erupt from her stunt plane after it crashed during her wing walker performance at the Vectren Air Show.

“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.”

Wicker, performing at the Dayton show for the first time, had been sitting atop the 450 HP Stearman when the dramatic accident unfolded.

A fireball engulfs the wreck.

THANH V. TRAN/AP

A fireball engulfs the wreck.

On a video capturing the crash, an announcer narrates as the plane glides through the air.

“Keep an eye on Jane. Keep an eye on Charlie. Watch this! Jane Wicker, sitting on top of the world,” the announcer said, right before the plane makes a quick turn with Wicker sitting on the wing.

Black smoke pours from the stunt plane after it plummeted to the ground.

THANH V. TRAN/AP

Black smoke pours from the stunt plane after it plummeted to the ground.

With its dramatic tilt the plane nosedived into the ground, erupting into flames as spectators screamed.

Ian Hoyt, an aviation photographer and licensed pilot from Findlay, was at the show with his girlfriend. He told The Associated Press he was taking photos as the plane passed by and had just raised his camera to take another shot.

A dust cloud hovers over the fallen plane that claimed both lives.

THANH V. TRAN/AP

A dust cloud hovers over the fallen plane that claimed both lives.

“Then I realized they were too low and too slow. And before I knew it, they hit the ground,” he said.

Firefighters rush to the crushed stunt plane and douse the flames after the horrifying crash at the Vectren Air Show.

WCPO.COM

Firefighters rush to the crushed stunt plane and douse the flames after the horrifying crash at the Vectren Air Show.

He couldn’t tell exactly what happened, but it appeared that the plane stalled and didn’t have enough air speed, he said. He credited the pilot for steering clear of spectators and potentially saving lives.

“Had he drifted more, I don’t know what would have happened,” Hoyt said. He said he had been excited to see the show because he’d never seen Wicker in action.

An onlooker says Jane Wicker looked extremely frightened as the plane began spiraling out of control.

VIA FACEBOOK

An onlooker says Jane Wicker looked extremely frightened as the plane began spiraling out of control.

The decision to resume the show a day after the crash was an emotional one supported by Wicker’s ex-husband, said air show general manager Brenda Kerfoot.

“He said, ‘This is what Jane and Charlie would have wanted,'” Kerfoot said. “‘They want you to have a safe show and go out there and do what you do best.'”

FLASHBACK: Wicker stands tall atop the biplane, piloted by Wicker's ex-husband Kirk Wicker, as it climbs vertically during the Leesburg Executive Airport's 2010 Airshow.

TRACY A. WOODWARD/THE WASHINGTON POST VIA GETTY IMAGES

FLASHBACK: Wicker stands tall atop the biplane, piloted by Wicker’s ex-husband Kirk Wicker, as it climbs vertically during the Leesburg Executive Airport’s 2010 Airshow.

Wicker, 44, who lived in Bristow, Va., was a mother of two boys and engaged to be married, Kerfoot said. Schwenker, 64, of Oakton, Va., was married.

The cause of the crash is unclear and the investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board will likely take months. Investigators picked through the debris of the crash site Saturday.

The Vectren Dayton Air Show in Ohio usually draws some 70,000 people. The rest of Saturday's events were canceled after a fatal crash that killed wing walker Jane Wicker and the stunt plane's pilot.

STEVE MEHAFFIE VIA YOUTUBE

The Vectren Dayton Air Show in Ohio usually draws some 70,000 people. The rest of Saturday’s events were canceled after a fatal crash that killed wing walker Jane Wicker and the stunt plane’s pilot.

Federal records show that biplane was registered to Wicker, who lived in Loudon, Va. A man who answered the phone at a number listed for Wicker on her website said he had no comment and hung up.

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, the FAA said.

Read more: NY Daily News

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