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Airshows remain safe following deadly OH crash, Menomonie pilot says

DAYTON, Ohio/MENOMONIE, Wisc. (WEAU) - A moment of silence was held Sunday in Dayton, Ohio after a dare devil stunt turned deadly at an air show.

A pilot and wing-walker died when their plane crashed Saturday.

Wing-walker Jane Wicker said these now-chilling words, one day before she and pilot Charles Schwenker died in the crash.

"I'm never nervous or scared. Because I know if I do everything as I usually do, everything's gonna be just fine,” she told WDTN news.

Their biplane crashed into the ground after flying low and upside down during their routine.

“If you're in the industry long enough, you're going to see something bad happen and I have,” Menomonie air show pilot Bill Cowden said.

He said danger doesn't go away, but neither do safety measures.

“You get the NASCAR people that half of them show up to see the crash and some like to see the competition. But that's not what we're about. It's a very safe industry, and we do our best to put on a good show and keep it safe at the same time,” he said.

“This isn't something that the average person can just show up and do, or the average private pilot could show up and do. It takes years and years of experience and practice.”

Cowden, who is also an Air Force veteran and commercial airline pilot, said a strong focus and years of experience have kept him safe.

“Complacency is a big thing; it's a very dynamic field, that's why it's so important to leave yourself an out, to be high enough to have an option to get out of something.”

But with high safety regulations and stunts done away from the crowds, Cowden said he hopes the crash doesn't keep them away.

“It's a tremendous tragedy, and we're sad for the families and friends that we lost, but the number one thing, is it's a very safe industry,” Cowden said. “It is inherently dangerous, and there is a higher level of risk associated with it, and that's why people come to see it.”

The crash is being investigated and no official cause has been released.


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