DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) - 2 NEWS Investigates has obtained a copy of the NTSB's preliminary report on the fatal crash of Jane Wicker's biplane during this year's Vectren Dayton Air Show.
"On June 22, 2013, about 1245 eastern daylight time, a Boeing-Stearman IB75A airplane, N450JW, impacted terrain at Dayton International Airport (KDAY), Dayton, Ohio. The commercial pilot and wing walker were both fatally injured. The airplane was destroyed. The airplane was registered to a private citizen and operated by Jane Wicker Airshows under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, which operated without a flight plan. The local flight was performing for the 2013 Vectren Dayton Air Show at KDAY and departed KDAY about 1235.
The air show airspace was orientated along runway 6L/24R. The performance was the fourth act scheduled on June 22.
Video and photos submitted by spectators captured the airplane during the performance and accident. A review of the photography showed the airplane completed a left "tear drop" style turn, positioning to cross in front of the spectators from the left. The wing walker had positioned herself on the bottom side of the lower left wing. As the airplane approached the crowd, it rolled upside down. While flying inverted from the southeast to the northwest in front of the spectators, the airplane's nose pitched slightly above the horizon. The airplane abruptly rolled to the right and impacted terrain in a descending left-wing-low attitude. A postimpact fire ensued and consumed a majority of the right wing and forward portion of the fuselage.
The accident site was a grass area south of the intersection of taxiway R and taxiway Z. The debris field followed a 050 degree heading and was about 145 feet long. The first ground scars were two parallel scars, consistent with the left wing's impact. The impact crater, which was 11 feet long, 6 feet wide, and at least 13 inches deep, was located about 40 feet from the beginning of the ground scars. The main wreckage came to rest 105 feet from the impact crater. All flight controls were accounted for at the accident site. The wreckage was documented and transported to a secure location for further examination.
Initial statements gathered by the NTSB and Federal Aviation Administration indicated that the pilot and wing walker had practiced the performance the day before the accident. Following the practice, neither the pilot nor the pilot-rated wing walker, reported any mechanical malfunctions or failures with the airplane.
At the time of the accident, wind was recorded from 220 degrees at 10 knots, visibility at 9 miles, a broken ceiling at 3,500 feet, temperature of 86 degrees Fahrenheit (F), dew point of 72 F, and barometric pressure of 30.18 inches of mercury."
Of course, the NTSB investigation is not over. It could take up to a year to complete.
Chief Investigator Jason Aquilera came to Dayton International Airport from Denver following the crash on Saturday, June 22. He had support from local authorities and the FAA. He gathered eyewitness statements and examined the wreckage concentrating on the airframe and the engine of the Stearman 75A belonging to Jane Wicker. Wing walker, Wicker and her pilot Charlie Schwenker were both certified pilots from Virginia in good standing with the FAA.
The two were killed in the crash that occurred just before 1:00 pm Saturday, June 22 as they were performing stunts. No spectators were injured. The air show was canceled for the rest of the day, but resumed Sunday.
The Montgomery County Coroner's Office indicated the two died from multiple trauma. Their deaths were considered accidental. Toxicology results are still weeks away.
We are still checking on funeral arrangements for Wicker and Schwenker.
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