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WING WALKER WONDER WOMAN

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A female daredevil dressed as Wonder Woman 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.

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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.

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Ashley, who has clocked up over 100 flights so far in her career, bravely stepped onto her plane in Colinville, Oklahoma this weekend.

She admits that as she only uses the simplest safety gear, she relies heavily on her physical and mental strength when performing.

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.’

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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.

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.

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‘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.’

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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.

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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.’

 Originally reported in The Daily Mail.