TODAY   |  June 23, 2013

Pilot and wing walker killed at air show

Hundreds of Dayton air show attendees witnessed a horrifying moment on Saturday as a plane crashed without warning as its wing walker, Jane Wicker, sat on its wing. NBC’s Michelle Franzen reports.

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>>> investigation in a deadly air show in ohio. hundreds saw the plane crash into a ball of flames on saturday killing a veteran pilot, a wing walker . michelle franzen is here with morning. good morning.

>> reporter: good morning, erica. the dayton air show is one of the oldest and draws thousands of aviation enthusiasts and families each year. jane wicker , an experienced wing walker who loved to fly and entertain from high above, was making her first appearance at this air show when the plane went down. the horrifying moment as hundreds watch a plane carrying a wing walker at the dayton air show . photos and videos show the bi-plane coming in low before making a turn upside-down with stunt performer jane wicker sitting on top of the wing. then the plane makes a sudden twist before it crashes to the ground. wicker and her pilot, charlie schwenker, die.

>> right now i don't -- there's not any conclusive answers to why the accident happened.

>> reporter: her profile on her website mentionses her love of wing walking , a passion that grew after responding for an ad for a wing walking position with the flying circus more than 20 years ago. on pry day wicker , a budget analyst by trade, told dayton's nbc affiliate, she was drawn to the thrill.

>> i've always been the kind of person that gets bored easy. i start off in the cockpit and i walk along the wing of an airplane, no safety line, no tether, no harness, no parachute, and i actually walk on the wing.

>> reporter: retired wing walker pilot walt pierce says she was among the small circle of daredevil performers who has what he called a life wish.

>> the camaraderie with the other people that fly is really great, and they get hooked on the people as much as the flying.

>> reporter: wicker documented her adventures on her facebook page and life with family. she was a mother of two boys and recently engaged. wicker and chief mechanic were planning a wing walk wedding according to the couple's webpage. investigators will be looking at factors including weather to determine what caused the plane carrying wicker and schwenker to crash. organizers canceled the rest of saturday's events but say today the gates will be open and the performances will go on. erica?

>> michelle, thank you.