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Published: Monday, 6/23/2014

Dayton air show takes caution year after fatal crash


DAYTON, Ohio  — The Dayton air show is taking extra safety precautions a year after a pilot and wing-walker died in a fiery crash in front of thousands of horrified spectators.

A third fire truck will be added to the two smaller trucks traditionally stationed at the annual Vectren Air Show, being held this weekend, the Dayton Daily News (http://bit.ly/1nxc44r) reported.

Bruce Bales, fire rescue chief at Dayton International Airport, said some performers expressed concerns over the emergency response times at a May 4 crash at Travis Air Force Base in Fairfield, California, that killed a stunt pilot.

“To put their minds at ease, we’re doing that,” Bales said.

Additionally, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base will have six firefighters there with a fire truck and a crash rescue truck because the Navy’s Blue Angels are performing, base spokeswoman Marie Vanover said. Bales said Wright-Patterson sends equipment any time a military jet performs at the air show.

The Air Force’s Thunderbirds precision jet team was pulled from last year’s show because of federal budget cuts.

Federal safety investigators haven’t released a final report on last year’s Dayton crash, which killed veteran wing-walker Jane Wicker and pilot Charlie Schwenker. Another show pilot was killed in a 2007 crash.

Terry Grevious, executive director of the Dayton show, said air shows are “a very, very safe environment. Accidents are extremely rare.”

The show follows strict Federal Aviation Administration guidelines, organizers said.

FAA spokeswoman Elizabeth Corry said there are no changes in its regulation of this year’s show. However, a departure route for emergency vehicles was improved, she said.

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