orangeleader.com (Orange, Texas)

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June 24, 2013

Wing walker, pilot had clean records

CINCINNATI — An aerobatic pilot and a wing walker killed in a fiery crash at an air show over the weekend had clean safety records, according to Federal Aviation Administration records released Monday, when new details emerged about the lives and love stories of the fallen performers.

Neither wing walker Jane Wicker, who had a pilot's license, nor pilot Charlie Schwenker had accidents in the past or was disciplined for any reason, FAA spokesman Roland Herwig said the agency records show. The information was released as the result of a public records request by The Associated Press.

Wicker and Schwenker, both of Virginia, were killed Saturday in a crash captured on video and witnessed by thousands of horrified spectators at the Vectren Air Show near Dayton. Wicker was performing a stunt on the wing of the plane when it suddenly went down, exploding on impact. Federal aviation officials are investigating the crash.

Wicker, a 44-year-old divorced mother of two teenage boys, was engaged to be married next year on top of an airplane. Her fiance, a pilot and airplane mechanic she met three years ago, was learning how to wing walk himself for what the pair called "the world's most unusual wedding," according to a website on which they talk of how they met, how he proposed in Las Vegas and their plans.

"Their story has just begun and a lifetime of adventure is in store for this couple," according to the site wingwalkwedding.com. "Their future looks loftier every day."

Schwenker, 64, would have celebrated his nine-year wedding anniversary on Tuesday. His wife, Susan Gantz, said it was love at first sight when they went on a blind date 20 years ago. She said her husband was "the most amazing human being."

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