Flight attendants are used to flying in airplanes, but not many have flown outside of them.
United Airlines flight attendant Sabrina Swenson did just that to celebrate her 50th birthday, according to a blog post she wrote for the airline’s website.
The Frankfurt, Germany-based attendant said she first took to the skies on the outside of an aircraft eight years ago, when the only wing-walking operation open to nonprofessionals was based in London. At that time, she was strapped into a standing position on top of a Boeing Stearman biplane before taking off.
More recently, she heard there was a place in Washington that allowed you to walk out onto the wing once you were already in the air.
“I knew I had to do it, and what better occasion than to celebrate my 50th birthday?” she wrote.
After training at the Mason Wing Walking Academy in Sequim (two hours outside of Seattle), Swenson and her pilot took off.
Once in the air, she started by enjoying the views — and then, it was go time.
“The Olympic Peninsula and the gorgeous Strait of Juan de Fuca, which separates Canada and the United States is stunning,” she wrote. “Upon reaching the appropriate altitude and slowing down to just above a stall speed, the pilot wagged the wings, letting me know it was time to get out.”
She continued, “I left my seat and grabbed the two hand holds above me, fighting the wind the entire time. I carefully made my way up between the cables above me to the pole on top of the plane. I leaned against it and buckled into the four-point harness.”
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