The Norman Transcript

Headlines

June 24, 2013

Ohio air crash shows risks, thrill of wing walking

CINCINNATI — Risking death every time they go to work, wing walkers need courage, poise, a healthy craving for adrenaline and, most importantly, they need to be meticulously exacting with every step they take on the small planes that carry them past dazzled crowds at speeds up to 130 mph.

Jane Wicker fit that bill, her friends and colleagues in the air show industry said Sunday.

Wicker, 44, and pilot Charlie Schwenker, 64, were killed Saturday in a fiery plane crash captured on video at a southwestern Ohio air show and witnessed by thousands. The cause of the crash isn’t yet known.

Jason Aguilera, the National Transportation Safety Board investigator leading the probe into the crash, said Sunday that it was too early to rule anything out and that the agency would issue its findings in six months to a year.

Wicker, a mother of two teenage boys and recently engaged, sat helplessly on the plane’s wing as the aircraft suddenly turned and slammed into the ground, exploding on impact and stunning the crowd at the Vectren Air Show near Dayton. The show closed shortly afterward but reopened Sunday with a moment of silence for the victims.

The crash drew attention to the rarefied profession of wing walking, which began in the 1920s in the barnstorming era of air shows following World War I.

The practice fell off the middle of the 20th century but picked back up again in the 1970s. Still, there are only about a dozen wing walkers in the U.S., said John Cudahy, president of the Leesburg, Va.-based International Council of Air Shows.

Teresa Stokes, of Houston, said she’s been wing walking for the past 25 years and does a couple of dozen shows every year. The job mostly requires being in shape to climb around the plane while battling winds, she said.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Headlines
  • movieposter Movie about Moore tornado survivors premieres May 16

    MOORE — Exploring ideas of faith and hope, an Oklahoma faith-based documentary on the May 20, 2013, EF-5 Moore tornado is scheduled to premiere at the Moore Warren Theatre May 16....

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Survivors observe 19th anniversary

    OKLAHOMA CITY — Survivors, rescue workers and the family members of victims of the Oklahoma City bombing have observed the 19th anniversary of the terrorist attack....

    April 20, 2014

  • Police arrest man connected to homicide

    Norman Police have arrested Abid Sandhu, 37 years old, of Norman, on a complaint of Murder in the First Degree. Formal charges have yet to be filed. At approximately 3:35 a.m. Saturday, the Norman Police Communications Center received a ...

    April 20, 2014

  • Cody’s Run raises $14,000

    Cody Ponder’s positive attitude was infectious even while he struggled with esophageal cancer. He always worked to help others and his giving spirit inspired a 5k race to benefit struggling patients. Last year Cody’s family organized a run ...

    April 20, 2014

  • State budget talks center on cuts

    OKLAHOMA CITY — With six weeks left in the 2014 session, behind-the-scenes negotiations among the House, Senate and governor’s office are ramping up on how to plug a $188 million hole in the budget and fund programs for education, public ...

    April 20, 2014

  • Dental groups oppose measure

    TULSA — Some Oklahoma dental groups are opposing a bill in the state Legislature, proposed as a reaction to the case of an oral surgeon accused of maintaining filthy office conditions, that deals with training requirements for oral surgery ...

    April 20, 2014

  • Former mayor files for county office

    Local physician and former Norman Mayor Harold Haralson recently filed his candidacy for the Cleveland County Commission District 3 seat....

    April 20, 2014

  • Selling Norman is love at first sight

    Meeting planners who make a site visit to Norman tend to fall in love, convention and hospitality experts said this week. The staff of the Norman Convention and Visitors Bureau are commissioned with the job of promoting tourism and selling ...

    April 20, 2014

  • Green House is a homegrown business

    Nancy Muenzler was a banker in her previous life. That was before the Green House, 1708 SW 24th Street, became her passion....

    April 20, 2014

  • Conan’s martial arts moves downtown

    Conan’s Kickboxing, Karate, Boxing, Jujitsu, MMA Academy is celebrating the grand opening of a new facility right in the heart of downtown Norman at 310 E. Main St. Founded in 1996 by four-time World Kickboxing Champion Scott “Conan” ...

    April 20, 2014