Archival image of early airshow act, A Curtiss JN-4 "Jenny".
Credit courtesy of Museum of Flight in Seattle, WA, USA
Earlier this summer, a pilot named Charlie Schwenker and a wing-walker named Jane Wicker were killed at the Vectren Air Show in Dayton, a tragedy in the midst of an event laden with history. Air Shows as public events began more than 100 years ago. WYSO's aviation commentator Dan Patterson loves that colorful history full of spectacle and heroism.
According to the Ohio State Highway Patrol - pilot error was the cause of a crash at the Vectren Dayton Air Show last month. Killed in the June 22nd accident were the plane’s owner, 44 year-old Jane Wicker – who was performing a wing walking stunt at the time - and the pilot 64 year-old Charlie Schwenker.
The report cites slow speed and a lack of lift, causing the plane to stall and then crash before thousands of spectators. Lt. Anne Ralston says the Patrol’s report is based on eye-witness accounts, video, and measurements taken at the crash site.
Organizers of the Dayton Air Show expect smaller crowds this weekend, thanks to the Air Force Thunderbirds and other military support pulling out because of federal budget cuts.
The two-day show usually draws around 70,000 people and has a $3.2 million impact on the local economy. But the Thunderbirds precision jet team had to withdraw earlier this year because of federal cutbacks, along with military support from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.
The Dayton Air Show that has to make do without military participation because of federal budget cuts has added a Tuskegee Airmen exhibit and a restored World War II fighter plane.
The Dayton Air Show says a traveling custom-trailer theater with a panoramic screen will be at the June 22-23 show at Dayton International Airport. It will tell the story of the black airmen who overcame many obstacles to become the heroic "Red Tail Squadron" of World War II. They flew in P-51 Mustang planes, and the air show says one will fly at the show.