Wing Walker Jane Wicker Bringing Golden Era of Grace to 2013 Florida International Air Show

Wing Walker Jane Wicker Demonstrates Some of Performance for the Florida International Air Show, Punta Gorda, Fla., March 21, 2013
Wing Walker Jane Wicker Demonstrates Some of Performance for the Florida International Air Show, Punta Gorda, Fla., March 21, 2013

Walking on the wing of an airplane racing at speeds between 80 and 140 mph seems um, oh, I don’t know. Risky, perhaps? Spectators heading out to the 33rd Annual Florida International Air Show at the Punta Gorda Airport Saturday and Sunday, March 23 and 24, 2013, will be treated to the graceful performance of wing walker Jane Wicker.

Wing Walker Jane Wicker's Career Began After Answering an Ad in the Washington Post
Wing Walker Jane Wicker’s Career Began After Answering an Ad in the Washington Post

She Answered an Ad
Wicker began her wing walking career in 1990 when she answered an ad in the Washington Post for a wing walker to join the Flying Circus. She trained for a month – on the ground – before taking to the air. She’s been flying ever since.

Wing walking is a throwback to the 1920s, the Golden Era of Aviation, when the act was popular during barnstorming. It’s just not hanging onto a wing, it’s actually moving around the wing, as she demonstrated during a Florida International Air Show press conference conference. She’s not tied to anything nor does she wear a parachute, including during feats when the plane is plunging and she’s performing one heck of a balancing act.

Staying Physically and Mentally Fit is Important in Being a Successful Wing Walker, Along with Good Treads
Staying Physically and Mentally Fit is Important in Being a Successful Wing Walker, Along with Good Treads

It’s All in the Tread
In addition to staying fit and practicing, she relies on sneakers with a good grip. Surprisingly, she doesn’t have a deal with a shoe company (Nike? Reebok? Sketchers? Are you listening?), especially since there are relatively few women who engage in wing walking. Instead, she picks up her treads from discount retailers.

Also keeping her safe in the sky is her pilot who happens to be her ex-husband (I was told it’s an amicable relationship) and her plane, a 450 HP Stearman called “Aurora.”

Punta Gorda Looked Lovely from Aurora Today, March 21, 2013
Punta Gorda Looked Lovely from Aurora Today, March 21, 2013

View from Above
“You want to go up?” I was asked. No, this wasn’t an invitation to try wing walking but a chance to ride in the Wick’s Stearman biplane above Punta Gorda. Since Bill Gordon, who piloted today’s flight (and is not her ex-husband, he wasn’t available today) promised not to flip the plane upside down, I was game.

Does watching Jane make you nervous, I asked him.

“No,” he replied, adding she’s very good at what she does.

Pilot Bill Gordon Ensured a Smooth and Scenic Ride, March 21, 2013
Pilot Bill Gordon Ensured a Smooth and Scenic Ride, March 21, 2013

Soaring in a biplane reminiscent of a romantic era was another opportunity to take in Punta Gorda’s beauty. All that was missing was a white scarf. Yes, I was nervous a bit because it’s kind of like being in a flying convertible cruising at 80-some-miles-per-hour. I was safely buckled in and the pilot ensured a smooth and scenic ride.

Bird's-Eye-View of Punta Gorda Airport, March 21, 2013
Bird’s-Eye-View of Punta Gorda Airport, March 21, 2013

As the wind whipped my hair around while soaring above Southwest Florida I gained a better appreciation for what Wicker is able to accomplish. Wind up there is powerful yet she’s able to work with it resulting in her breathtaking performances. I can’t wait for this weekend!

Visit Jane Wicker’s website (www.wingwalk.org) for additional information and to check her schedule, maybe you can catch her in your town.

Learn About the Good DAV is Doing for Our Veterans
Learn About the Good DAV is Doing for Our Veterans

Florida International Air Show Nuts & Bolts

The Florida International Air Show features a collection of aerobatic performers, military aircraft, static displays, plane rides and plenty of food. (It’s always about food with me!) This year’s theme is “A Tribute to Veterans.” One of the returning displays is Disabled Americans Veterans‘ B-25 Mitchell Bomber Panchito. Be sure to check out this post about the good DAV is doing for our veterans.

The show benefits dozens of Southwest Florida charities and raises more than $2.9 million for these organizations. Gates open at 9 a.m. both days (March 23 & 24, 2013)

Visit the air show’s website (www.floridaairshow.com) for additional information.

 

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Jenn

Jennifer A. Huber is an award-winning travel and outdoor blogger and writer in Southwest Florida. Originally from Buffalo, N.Y., a hiking trail led her to a career path in the tourism industry for more than 30 years. She spent a decade with a park management company in Yellowstone, Death Valley, and Everglades National Parks. She founded the travel blog, SoloTravelGirl.com with the goal of inspiring others to travel alone, not lonely. The unexpected death of her former husband in 2008 reminded her how short life is. His passing was a catalyst for sharing her experiences with the goal of inspiring and empowering others to travel solo. Jennifer holds a Travel Marketing Professional certification from the Southeast Tourism Society, is a certified food judge, member of the NASA Social community, and alum of the FBI Citizens Academy. When not traveling, she is either in the kitchen, practicing her photography skills, or road tripping with her dog, Radcliff.

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