Stunt performer, pilot killed in Ohio air show crash

A wing walker was performing on a byplane at an air show when they suffered an accident, organizers say.
A wing walker was performing on a byplane at an air show when they suffered an accident, organizers say.

A woman performing a wing-walking stunt and her pilot were killed on Saturday when their biplane crashed and burst into flames while doing acrobatics at an air show in Ohio, organizers of the event said.

Jane Wicker and her pilot were killed when their Boeing Stearman, nicknamed “Aurora,” crashed around 1 p.m. EDT (1700 GMT) at the Vectren Dayton Air Show in Dayton, organizers said.

Wicker and her male pilot, who has not yet been identified, appeared to be executing a stunt in which Wicker sits on the wing as the plane flips.

Once inverted, the vintage aircraft suddenly lost altitude and struck the ground.

“There was a significant explosion. There was smoke and fire. The announcers had the kids look away,” said Michael Emoff, chairman of the 39th annual show. “The weather was fine. Clearly something went wrong.”

No one was injured in the crash, organizers said.

Emoff said that “fairly aggressive acrobatic acts” are common at the show, which has been the scene of at least one other fatal crash. In 2007 a pilot failed to pull out of a loop fast enough and smashed into the ground, he said.

The Federal Aviation Administration, the National Transportation Safety Board and local authorities were investigating the crash.

Lynn Lunsford, an FAA spokesman, said an investigation into the cause of the crash could take several months to a year to complete.

John Cudahy, president of the International Council of Air Shows, a trade group, said such crashes are becoming less common but still happen twice per year on average.

The show will resume on Sunday, organizers said.


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