Aviators remember life, stunts of Va. wing walker

WASHINGTON – Planes flew in a missing man formation over the Flying Circus Aerodome Tuesday to honor the life and artistry of a fellow aviator.

Tuesday friends and colleagues of Jane Wicker gathered in Bealeton, Va., south of Warrenton, to remember the way the 44-year-old lived, not how she died.

Wicker, a wing walker, was killed during a performance at an Ohio air show last month. Pilot Charlie Schwenker, of Oakton, Va., also was killed in the June 22 crash.

The mother of two boys had joined the Flying Circus after responding to an ad for a wing walker in 1990.

Her ex-husband Kirk Wicker says she was a role model.

“She was a performer. And she took what she did very seriously,” Wicker says.

“She wanted to show people, it doesn’t matter who you are whether you’re a man, a woman, a child, if you have dreams, you can live those dreams.”


Planes fly in the missing man formation Tuesday during a ‘Celebration of Life’ for wing walker Jane Wicker Tuesday in Bealeton, Va. Wicker was killed while performing at an air show in Ohio in June. (WTOP/Hank Silverberg)

Scott Yoak was among the pilots and wing walkers from across the country who came to remember his friend.

“We’ve been called daredevils, we’ve been called stuntmen. We’re just entertainers,” Yoak says.

Jane Wicker told an Ohio television station in June that her signature move was hanging underneath the plane’s wing by her feet and sitting on the bottom of the airplane while it’s upside-down.

She also said that she was never nervous or scared while performing.

“She died on the wing of the airplane that she loved,” Yoak says.

This TLC video “Understanding Thrillseekers” includes an interview with Jane Wicker.

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WTOP’s Hank Silverberg contributed to this report. Follow @hsilverbergwtop and @WTOP on Twitter.

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