Danielle HughesBy Danielle Hughes (A.K.A. Bird), Breitling Wingwalker appearing at the Airshow, East Fortune, on Saturday 23 July 2011

I had always dreamed of becoming a wing lady aviatrix from the age of six after my parents took me to a local airshow for the first time. It was there I experienced the sheer spectacle of the glamorous wingwalkers in action on top of their colourful vintage biplane aircraft. This greatly inspired me and I now had a burning ambition to wing walk that I was determined to achieve.

The Breitling Wingwalkers performing an aerobatics display

I have always been an active person and really like a challenge in life, especially if there is a competitive element to it. At the age of 14, I became the national Tae Kwon Do Black belt second dan British Champion! I like to keep my fitness up in my spare time by jogging, going to the gym and vaulting (gymnastics on moving horses!).

I love every aspect of leading the wingwalking display routine, particularly the thrill of climbing around the aircraft in flight. These position changes happen at various points during the display and require a lot of physical strength to achieve. We often work against 160 mph winds at the same time as the aeroplane is moving through the air!

My favourite manouevre is known as the ‘Cockpit Lady’ pass, named after the Breitling watch: we leave the safety of our static harness and climb down to the cockpit during flight.  While standing in front of the pilot’s windscreen we perform a balletic pose as we soar through the sky! I also love to take to the controls myself and have gained my flying licence too!

I have displayed at the Airshow at National Museum of Flight,  East Fortune a number of times and think it is a fantastic show and always a great crowd!