Growing up in the South of England near an airfield where Breitling Wingwalkers practised aerial stunts, Nikita Salmon was excited everytime she saw the air acrobatic team take to the skies. So, when the opportunity knocked for the 23-year-old teacher to sign up with Wingwalkers part time, she didn’t have to think twice.

That was two years ago.

Now, when she is not teaching, Salmon flies around the world from air show to air show, wowing audiences with high altitude stunts.

At the Aero India airshow that opened in Bengaluru on Wednesday, Nikita and her two colleagues performed dare-devil stunts before thousands of visitors, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Breitling’s wing walking was a key attraction among other enthralling aerial stunts by various teams including the Indian Air Force.

The Breitling Wingwalkers cruise at an average of 160km/hour and the three women put up a shot of acrobatics on the wings of fixed wing aircraft while in the air. Wing walking includes assuming various positions including, handstand, sideways, basic standing, windrider pass and cockpit lady while the aircraft rolls, pitches and yaws.

Swiss watchmaker Breitling has made a name creating time pieces for aviators and has had a host of celebrities endorsing them, including John Travolta, Hollywood actor and pilot.

“We had an intense training for two months before we take to the skies," says Freya Paterson, 30, Salmon’s team mate. The third member of Wingwakers is Danielle Hughes, 26.

As the world’s only aerobatic formation display team to feature professional wingwalkers, Breitling Wingwalkers has been entertaining airshow crowds for almost three decades. With their unique combination of skill, aerial artistry and effective teamwork, the formation of planes evokes the flamboyant and colourful character of aviation’s golden era.

While Wingwalkers flies a fleet of four iconic Boeing Stearman biplanes, the aerial ballerinas on their wings capture the carefree and colourful spirit of aviation.

According to the Brietling team, the pilots are among the most skilled and experienced in the world, with thousands of hours of experience flying different types of aircraft in their careers.

Flying at comparatively low speeds of around 100mph in the cruise mode, the pilots require not only superior handling skills but also an understanding of the aeroplanes themselves, which date back to the late 1930s.

The trio perform on the wings using handstands, hang upside and downside in the air with the dancing steps for the cheering crowds of the air shows.

Wingwalking was popularised in the pioneering golden era of aviation in the 1920s when flying for fun was first showcased to a wide audience, according to the company.

Pilots who picked up the tradition performed amazing aerial feats, filling the sky with loops and rolls.

Taking the concept a level further, certain daring pilots and aerial performers would climb aboard the wing to perform breath-taking acrobatics from outside the cockpit.

This form of entertainment was an instant hit and saw the emergence of flying circuses, where aerial entertainers would defy the laws of gravity aboard magnificent machines.

The Breitling Wingwalkers was born in the late 1980s when chief pilot Vic Norman decided it was time to bring back the spectacle to airshows in Europe, the company said.

His company was the first to be granted permission to allow performers to climb out of the cockpit since it was restricted in the UK in 1933. In the UK, where the team is based, the unique style of aerial theatre is seen by up to 6 million spectators a year and by a growing audience across Europe, Australia, Asia and the Middle East.

In 2009, the team became an aviation ambassador for elite Swiss chronograph brand Breitling.

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