The People News, a free newspaper serving Cleveland Tennessee (TN) and Bradley County Tennessee (Tn).

Of Bradley County Tn.

JULY  2013

                            The People News, a free newspaper serving Cleveland and Bradley County Tn.

The People News
Special Report






Tribute to Jane Wicker

by Alexandra Edwards

Jane Wicker

(June 29, 1967 to June 22, 2013)

My column in this year's May issue of The People News
featured wing walker, Jane Wicker, who ironically was tragically killed on June 22 at the Vectren, Dayton Air Show.

After Watching Jane perform at the Florida International Air show earlier this year I was so inspired by her dare devil, exciting and graceful talent, that I just had to tell my readers about her. I watched in awe as the famous wing walker walked from one wing to the other, hung upside down and balanced on top of her very own 1941 Boeing Stearman biplane she affectionately nicknamed Aurora.

Alexandra Edwards

This Just In

A Celebration of Life tribute for Jane Wicker is scheduled at 2:00 pm on July 9, 2013 at the Flying Circus Aerodrome in Bealeton, Virginia.

Jane Wicker, 44 loved aerobatics and was the only wing walker in America who did not use a safety harness. Even after an unrelated injury just recently, she could not wait to get back up in the air at the Dayton air show on the weekend in June.

Thousands of fans on Facebook and Twitter were kept up to date with her enthusiastic posts right up to her arrival in Dayton, not realizing that those posts were to be her last.

During her performance at Dayton, a problem with the plane suddenly caused it to drop, flip and burst into flames, instantly killing both Jane Wicker and the pilot, Charles Schwenker.

Jane Wicker was a woman with such a deep passion for aerobatics and wing walking that ever since she got the taste for it in 1989 nothing seemed to stop her. Going through a divorce, raising two children, working a full time job, even furthering her education failed to keep Jane grounded.

Jane appeared at hundreds of air shows all across the nation with her "Swing Time" Wing Walking act, just like it was performed in the 1920s by the early Barnstormers. With the sound of big band music in the background, spectators would witness Jane climbing and walking untethered all across the aircraft, between the wings, on top of, even holding on by just her legs beneath the airplane from the N strut. Then, she would continue to hang as the airplane rolled inverted leaving her sitting upright on the bottom of the airplane. Throughout her maneuvers she would cheerfully wave to the crowds below.

Her dream was "to give everyone an insight into what airshow performers did to wow the crowds in those early days of aviation."

During her final performance as she maneuvered to the top of the plane, the narrator at the Dayton Air show just announced, "Jane Wicker sitting on top of the world." Sadly, just seconds after those words were spoken it was all over.

Jane Wicker died doing what she loved. She knew that she was risking her life with each and every performance, but that did not stop her. One of her quotes say it all;

"My soul is fed by the air and I get a complete sense of fulfillment by not only the experience, but by challenging myself and doing something so uniquely different. I'm alive up there. To soar like a bird and touch the sky puts me in a place where I feel I totally belong. It's the only thing I've done that I've never questioned, never hesitated about and always felt was my destiny."

Jane Wicker will be sadly missed by a millions of people like myself who have watched in awe as she made each air show a special event to remember.

One of the best things about the Internet and YouTube videos, Jane's wing walking talents will continue to live on, so she will never be forgotten.

To see Jane Wicker at her best visit
and click on videos.