Wing walker sets world record above San Francisco

June 20, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
You may have noticed a bi-plane soaring over the Bay Area Saturday. Well it turns out, that was a woman on top of the wing attempting to break a Guiness World Record for wing walking.

When 27-year-old Ashley Battles strapped herself on top of this 1942 Steerman bi-plane, she knew she was in for the ride of her life. She was out to beat the previous Guinness World Record of 3 hours and 23 minutes. In doing so, she toured San Francisco like no other tourist. Soaring over the Golden Gate Bridge and barnstorming Alcatraz.

"It was just very forceful winds and constantly uncomfortable and cold the entire time," said Battles.

At speeds over 100 miles per hour, and freezing temperatures, her protective clothing offered minimal comfort. The pilot and cockpit were just feet away.

"Basically I just snacked and drank soft drinks while she suffered," said pilot Robert Ragozzino.

Actually, Ragozzino played a vital role in documenting the world record.

"Because Guinness requires us to have filmed documentation of everything, we have a timer up there. The cameras have to be on the timer and on Ashley," said Ragozzino.

"It really didn't hit me until I came down from the wing. I could barely stand. I could barely move. The tension and the cold were just really taking me over," said Battles.

Battles says she tried wing-walking after she got bored while studying to be a pilot at Oklahoma State University.


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