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Five Hour Wingwalk Planned


May 20, 2010 — Ashley Battles is going for a really long walk on a very short path. She is preparing to take a five-hour stroll on the wings of a 450 Stearman piloted by Robert Ragozzino, EAA 444845, over San Francisco Bay in an effort to break the Guinness World Record for wingwalking duration. Ragozzino, of Norman, Oklahoma, is no stranger to record attempts; he flew his 1942 Stearman solo around the world in 2000.

The current wingwalking record is 3 hours, 39 minutes; however Battles and Ragozzino are shooting for five hours. The Stearman, nicknamed Yello Peril, has been modified with extended fuel capacity. Battles, who dreams of one day performing at AirVenture Oshkosh, has been wingwalking for the past seven years while completing an aviation degree from Oklahoma State University and launching an airline career. That career is on hold due to a furlough but she can be seen on the air show circuit with Gregg Shelton of Greg Shelton Air Shows.

Rogozzino selected the Bay Area for the attempt to build publicity for his Spirit of St. Louis 2 project in which he hopes to recreate Lindbergh’s 1927 Atlantic crossing. The wingwalking duo was hoping to for the record on or as close to the 83rd anniversary of Lindbergh’s flight (May 20-21) but weather has delayed the attempt until June 5.

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