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Preliminary NTSB report describes Dayton Air Show crash

A preliminary report released by the National Transportation Safety Board illustrates the fatal plane crash that killed wing walker Jane Wicker and her pilot Charlie Schwenker at the Vectren Dayton Air Show last month.

According to the report, the debris field from the crash was approximately 145 feet long.

After review of spectator video and photos, the NTSB determined the airplane completed a left tear-drop style turn, positioning to cross in front of the crowd watching the 2013 Vectren Dayton Air Show, according to the report.

“The wing walker had positioned herself on the bottom side of the lower left wing,” the report said. The pilot rolled the plane upside down and while flying in front of spectators the nose pitched slightly above the horizon. “The airplane abruptly rolled to the right and impacted terrain in a descending left-wing-low attitude,” the document continued.

Following the impact the aircraft burst into flames, destroying the majority of the right wing and front of the fuselage, the NTSB stated.

A preliminary investigation revealed the first ground scars were consistent with the plane’s left wing impact. The impact crater left behind by the crash measured 11 feet long, 6 feet wide and was at least 13 inches deep, according to the report.

The main portion of the wreckage came to a stop 105 feet from the original impact crater, the report revealed.

The Federal Aviation Administration and NTSB obtained initial statements in relation to the crash and it was determined both Wicker and Schwenker had practiced their performance the day before and neither reported any problems with the aircraft.

The temperature at the time of the crash was 86 degrees and the wind was documented from 220 degrees at 10 knots. Visibility was 9 miles and the dew point at the time was 72 degrees, the report said.

The preliminary report is subject to change and could contain errors, but any errors will be corrected when a final report is completed, the NTSB said.

The Ohio State Highway Patrol released a report earlier this week stating that pilot error was the cause of the crash, but stressed that their investigation was limited to witness statements, video and measurements of the crash site, among other factors. It did not look at a potential mechanical cause, leaving that assessment to the NTSB.

A final NTSB report is not expected for six to 12 months.

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