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Wing walker was to perform at Reading Air Show next month

By Ryan Hughes, Reporter, RHughes@wfmz.com
Published On: Jun 23 2013 07:00:00 PM CDT
Updated On: Jun 24 2013 05:16:57 PM CDT

An airshow in Ohio turned into a horrifying scene for thousands after a stunt plane crashed and killed two people.

BERN TWP., Pa. -

An air show in Ohio turned into a horrifying scene for thousands after a stunt plane crashed and killed two people.

Jane Wicker, 44, and Charlie Schwenker, 64, died Saturday while performing at the Vectren Dayton Air Show.

"Watch this, Jane Wicker sitting on top of the world," said an announcer in Ohio, moments before the accident

Wicker and Schwenker's dramatic maneuver turned into disaster over Dayton. Their plane plunged to the ground and burst into a fireball.

Wicker completed an interview before what would become her final flight.

"I'm probably the only person, one of the few in the world that will walk in front of the crowd along the wings of the plane with no safety line," Wicker said.

Wicker told reporters she answered an ad in the newspaper in 1990 that read, "Wing walker wanted. No experience necessary."

Before her untimely death, Wicker was set to be part of Reading Air's South Pacific Fly-in on July 27 at the Reading Regional Airport in Bern Twp., Berks Co.

Wicker planned to complete the same routine she became famous for, organizers said.

"She hadn't been in the Reading area as a performer, so she was excited for that," said Thorne Harkin, who is organizing the air show next month.

Harkin worked alongside Wicker and said she was a fun-loving fan favorite who was always willing to sign autographs, and Schwenker was his mentor.

"He had been in the air show business for decades. He was very meticulous," said Harkin, who added he found out about the accident on Facebook.

Reading Air grieved Monday with the aviation community, and now this tragedy has left some things up in the air for next month's show.

"We have some decisions to make as to what substitutes or what changes we are going to make to the airshow portion itself," said Rob Kline, president of Reading Air.

Schwenker was not set to fly in Berks County next month. Instead, Wicker's ex-husband was set to be her pilot. Officials expect he will still come, and said the show must go on.

"They understood the risks involved, but they would have wanted us to keep going and that's what we're going to do," said Harkin.

Kline said there are risks with every show, but they have taken all the precautions and followed all the regulations by the FAA, and they're ready.

The Fly-in is set for July 27 from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. on the North Ramp.