#PeopleOfAviation, special episode. Wing Walking, through the eyes of Emily Guilding, member of Breitling Wingwalkers Team

Wing Walking was born in 1918, during the First World War. Then, a brave 26 years old young man, Ormer  Locklear, during a flight training, went on the wings of his plane to fix a malfunction.

Later, Wing Walking played an important role in obtaining the time records in Aviation. Wing Walkers become the key to archieve long-haul flights, by doing air-to-air refuelings. The first archievement of this kind was made by Wesley May, in 1921, when he got off from a plane, on his wings and climbed to another plane with a canister on his back. Once completed his mission, he returned the plane from wich he had come. His action proved that the planes can be refueled in the middle air and conducted to a development in this area, air refueling being further practiced, today especially in the military aviation.

Almost a century later, nowdays, wing walking is still kept alive in the collective memory of the public and Aviation enthusiast, and even elevated to the grade of art, thanks to airshow groups such as Breitling WingWalkers. On the wings of some Boeing Stearmans, especially modified for aerobatics, five beautiful and brave girls bring the magic of historic flights from the beginnings of Aviation displays in the modern days. There are dangerous flights, because they don’t have a parachute to save them, if an accident happens. However it would not open, that flight display heigh being too small for that.

One of the members of Breitling WingWalkers group is Emily Guilding. She joined them in 2014, leaving aside the job of environmental consultant. After seeing her sister, also a member of the team, so many times performing as a wing walker, and also their father, who experienced the thrill on the wings of the Stearman, she didn’t said no when she had the opportunity of joing.

Emily lives and sees the Flight and Aviation from a perspective that few people have the opportunity, and the courage that she proves is even above the skydivers one, in my opinion. I had the opportunity to speak with Emily and find how she sees Aviation and wing walking, in a special episode of my #PeopleOfAviation series.

What are you doing when you are not flying?

Foto: Adrian Rădulescu

Emily: I love anything that is fun and outdoors and spend my spare time skiing, mountain biking and horse riding.

What are Aviation and wing walking for you?

Emily: Wingwalking gives you an immense sense of freedom, like being a bird, you almost forget the plane is beneath you.

Could you tell me three things you learned in life, through Aviation and wing walking?

Emily: Speak to as many people as you can – so many have really interesting stories to tell.

Remember every moment as it is unique and you won’t get it back

Trust your instinct, don’t just go with what you think other people say is right

What is the most fun moment you lived in the air?

foto: Breitling WingWalkers
foto: Breitling WingWalkers

Emily: The most fun experience was finally getting to fly with my sister. This happened in Dubai over the Palm Island – a very special and surreal experience.

But the most dangerous one?

Emily: There haven’t been any dangerous ones, but there have been unpleasant ones – like flying in a hail storm – pellets of ice going into your face at 150mph really hurts!

How did you managed it?

Emily: I just kept thinking about all the spectators down on the ground who had travelled from all over the country to see us and I was determined to put on a good display.

Emily Guilding Breitling WingWalkers
Foto: Adrian Rădulescu

What’s the advice you would give to your ego if you were in the past, when you started to


Emily: Grab every opportunity that presents itself to you and stop worrying about the things that could go wrong, its much better to get excited about what can go right.

What are the three qualities that someone must have, in order to become wingwalker?

Emily: You must not have a fear of heights! You need to be flexible and strong. You also need to be hardworking and a real team player.

Foto: Adrian Rădulescu

You are very experienced and brave. Do you have fear to fly as a passenger in a

commercial airplane which others fly it?

Emily: Not at all, I love flying as a passenger because it is taking me on my next adventure!

Which of the pioneers of Aviation would you like to meet and wich one you consider inspiring your career?

Emily: There is no one person in particular but I am very lucky in my job because I get to meet all sorts of interesting people in aviation from all around the world and their stories inspire me every day.

Foto: Adrian Rădulescu

Do you have a motto that inspires you in what are you doing?

Emily: The brave may not live forever but the cautious do not live at all – carpe diem!

What do you know about Romanian Aviation?

Emily: Very little I’m afraid, but would be interested to find out more!

Future plans?

Emily: I am looking forward to a busy 2017 show season. First stop is China in April :).

When in Romania?

Emily: I’m afraid we have no plans to come to Romania at the moment but I hope we will come soon!

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