Adrian Hance, Divisional Director at IMS UK, one of Europe’s largest specialist steel stockholders and processors of abrasion resistant and high yield steel, has had a long term ambition to go wingwalking from first seeing it in films and then at air shows, so the staff of IMS UK took the opportunity to make his wish come true for his 60th birthday.
UK based AeroSuperBatics, and their amazing Breitling wingwalking team are based at Redcomb airfield near Cirencester. The airfield was formerly a pilot’s training base for World War 1 pilots of the Royal Flying Corps, the forerunner to the RAF, and the airfield is still retained in the same style today. When performing, the professional wingwalking team completes a breathtaking sequence of acrobatic manoeuvres and handstands whilst strapped to the top wings of a beautiful Boeing Stearman biplane.
Adrian’s experience began on a perfect English summer morning, by being introduced to the pilot for a briefing on the flying routine for the day. Then after being strapped to the top wing of the biplane by one of the Breitling wingwalking team, he began the bumpy trip across the airfield for takeoff. "This was the worst part of the whole experience" explained Adrian. "But after turning into the wind and accelerating the plane was quickly airborne and the sensation was incredible!" The plane climbed to a sufficient height to see the landscape for many miles before diving and soaring around the airfield for 25 minutes. "It took a few moments to feel comfortable up there in the onrushing wind" he commented "but I hope to do it all over again in the not too distant future. It was fantastic!"
As a strong supporter of cancer research, Adrian donated the money raised by IMS UK to pay for the special birthday experience directly to the charity.