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Published: Thursday, 7/4/2013 - Updated: 2 years ago

Air show plane had no prior issues

Stunt duo practiced before crash


DAYTON — A wing walker and aerobatic pilot killed in a fiery crash at an Ohio air show practiced their performance the previous day and reported no mechanical problems with the plane, according to a preliminary report released Thursday by federal investigators.

Thousands of spectators witnessed the June 22 crash and explosion at the Vectren Air Show near Dayton.

The plane was turned upside-down and positioned to cross in front of the crowd when the nose pitched slightly and the aircraft abruptly rolled and struck ground, according to the accident report from the National Transportation Safety Board.

The crash left a debris field 145 feet long, according the report.

The preliminary report does not address the cause of the crash.

Some witnesses said they knew something was amiss because the plane was flying too low and slow.

Federal Aviation Administration records showed clean safety records for the 64-year-old pilot, Charlie Schwenker of Oakton, Va., and 44-year-old performer Jane Wicker of Bristow, Va.

Ms. Wicker was a mother of two teenage boys and was recently engaged to a pilot whom she planned to marry atop a plane.

Mr. Schwenker’s wife of nine years described him as an exacting pilot who took no unmeasured risks.

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