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Date posted: 02-06-2016
The daring wingwalkers of the world-famous Breitling Wingwalking team will be flying into Biggin Hill Airport to entertain spectators at the annual Festival of Flight on Saturday 11th June.
Emily Guilding (30) from Gloucester and Florence Rolleston-Smith (22) from East Sussex will experience G-forces of plus 4 and minus 2 as they perform their 20 minute display sequence from the top wing of the team’s 1940’s Boeing Stearman biplanes. At the aircraft controls will be Martyn Carrington, the seasoned Director of Flying, now in his 15th year in the job that he loves where he is responsible for Display Safety and Training. David Barrell, in his 8th year as a team pilot, will be flying the lead aircraft. The team are based at Rendcomb in Gloucestershire.
The wingwalkers are secured to the wing with a sophisticated rig that employs a military-style 5-point harness. This allows them full freedom to safely perform handstands by swivelling in the rig and climbing around the aircraft against considerable wind pressure, at the same time waving to their audience.
Amongst the dramatic manoeuvres flown by the team is ‘looping the loop’ with the wingwalkers standing on the wing as the aircraft accelerate to 150 mph.
The vintage Boeing Stearman feature a striking Breitling livery. They are fitted with the massive 450hp Pratt & Witney radial engine with a 20-foot diameter propeller. The propeller tips reach supersonic speed in some sequences, giving a unique waspish whizzing sound.
Wingwalking dates back to when young flying aces returned from the 1st World War, totally addicted to the thrills of flying. War surplus aircraft were cheap to buy, so they were purchased by these pilots who would thrill crowds in the 20’s and 30’s with their daring aerial antics and also sell joy-rides. To entertain the crowds further, the pilots persuaded their girlfriends and young engineers to walk out along the wing – and this was the start of flying circus entertainment.
In modern times, the Breitling Wingwalkers recreate the fearless glamour of those pioneering years. Using the latest technology, they bring all the vitality and pizzazz from the 1920’s to
Issued by Biggin Hill Airport Ltd – www.bigginhillairport.com
Media contact is Simon Ames – Head of Communications – M: 07785 745857