Wing walking Wonder Woman: Female world record holder braves the high skies just weeks after fellow stuntwoman died in fireball crash
By Sara Malm DailyMail PUBLISHED: 8 July 2013 |
A female dare devil shows the true meaning of being a Wonder Woman as she performs thousands of feet above ground just weeks after another wing walker died in a crash.
Ashley Battles, holds the world record for remaining on the wings of a plane for a staggering four hours and two minutes.
The 29-year-old performs with no safety net and is simply strapped onto a rack bolted to the wing span.
High flyer: Ashley has clocked up over 100 flights in her career and is part of an all-female wing walkers crew who share a love for thrills and high altitudes
Where no-one has gone before: Ashley has the world record for wing walking, knocking her competition out of the park with an impressive four hours and and two minutes on top of an airplane
She performed at high altitude two weeks after fellow airborne stuntwoman Jane Wicker died when her biplane plummeted into the ground with her on the wing.
Ashley, who has clocked up over 100 flights so far in her career, bravely stepped onto her plane in Colinville, Oklahoma this weekend.
She said: ‘It takes someone who is able to flip a switch in their mind to wing walk; someone who is able to not think about how high off the ground they are or how close to the ground you get or how hard it can be to move along the wing.’
Fearless Ashely is faced with speeds up to 70 knots as she performs on the wings while the plane spirals, twists, loops and barrels above screaming crowds at up to 10 air shows a year.
Ready for Battles: Ashley poses next to an airplane in her custom-made Wonder Woman outfit, left, and ‘incognito’, right
Pole position: Ashley checks that everything is ready and gets herself settled into position before performing at thousands of feet into the sky
Going up: Although standing on a plane with just a metal rack to keep you from falling might look daunting, the fact that she climbs there unsecured is even more terrifying
Nearly there: With the biplane steady in the air, she makes her way from the front cockpit, climbing onto the top wing where she will strap herself into the rack before going into the aerobatic maneuvers
Tadaa! Ashley keeps her nerves in check by listening to her iPod, but still cannot escape some physical injuries – including bruised cheeks – when she stands on the plane
The young dare devil has developed a way to cope with the pressure on high altitudes – listening to music.
She added: ‘When I am standing up there that long, I’m thinking about everything from what I get to eat later to just contemplating life. I’m also listening to my iPod.
‘There’s of course the danger of possible engine failure. Hitting a bird while a wing walker is atop the wings could be a pretty terrible event.
‘We do take every safety precaution that we can to make sure we stay safe in the air.’
Despite the risks, Battles has her husband and her parent’s full support.
Ashely said: ‘My husband thinks what I do is pretty neat so I am fortunate that he enjoys watching me wing walk. My mum would probably wing walk too if I’d let her.’
Some of the day-to-day hazards of her job include sore muscles, bruises, scrapes and hurt cheeks that get pummelled by the wind.
Ashley’s pilot, Greg Shelton, who flies the 450 Stearman airplane that Ashley performs on, forms the other half of their crack wing walking duo.
Greg said: ‘We had a show where I flew her through some big raindrops. Another time the engine quit with her on top and landed on the taxi way.’
Playing with fire: Unlike many wing walkers, Ashley performs with no safety net and is simply strapped onto a rack bolted to the wing span
Nice view: Ashley took to the skies just weeks after a fellow woman wing walker died while performing on a plane
All topsy-turvy: Ashley regularly perform in air shows showing off jaw-dropping moves, such as spirals, barrels and, as seen here, loops
On top of the world: Even when the plane is upside down, Alshey keeps her nerves steady as she perform to the the cheer of crowds all across the US
All done: Ashley and pilot Greg Shelton comes in to land after she completed yet another daring sky-high walk over Oklahoma