On Saturday, June 22, 2013 in Dayton, Ohio during the Vectren Dayton Air Show, the lives of Jane Wicker, 45, and Charles Schwenker, 64, came to an abrupt, fiery, and tragic end.
The two were performing a stunt called ‘On Top of the World’ when the left wing then nose of the Boeing Stearman biplane slammed into the ground. Both were killed instantly.
The tragic incident occurred in front of thousands of horrified onlookers, but thankfully, none were injured.
After an initial investigation by the Ohio State Patrol, it was determined to be pilot error that caused the accident. Their finds were mirrored by the National Transportation Safety Board’s findings. While the NTSB has a policy against determining specific pilot errors, but determines probable cause.
Their report concluded the pilot had attempted to fly "a modified airshow maneuver, which placed the airplane at low altitude and airspeed and out of position within the performance area."
Jane Wicker had been engaged to be married and was a certified pilot. She simply believed the more exciting things would happen outside of the cockpit.
Charles Schwenker was a pilot she trusted with the aircraft that was registered to her.
One of the witnesses who was taking photos during the tragedy credited Mr. Schwenker for steering the doomed plane away from spectators within milliseconds, probably saving many lives.
The rest of the airshow was canceled for that day. It resumed the following day.
Jane Wicker (Wingwalker) and Charles Schwenker (Pilot) Die in Airshow Accident
On Saturday, June 22, 2013 in Dayton, Ohio during the Vectren Dayton Air Show, the lives of Jane Wicker, 45, and Charles Schwenker, 64, came to an...