Saturday, 26 April 2014

UK's First Charity Wing Walker Takes Off

Michelle Pullen from Royston, Hertfordshire has become the UK's first fully approved charity wing walker following a thrilling 20 minute wing walking experience with Aerobatic Tactics at Damyns Hall Aerodrome in Essex in aid of Parkinson's UK. Michelle is the first of many thrill-seeking fundraisers to benefit from the new CAA (Civil Aviation Authority) regulations permitting the Essex and Kent-based aerobatics experience company to operate wing walking for members of the public and for fundraising purposes.

Michelle chose to fundraise through wing walking in memory of her grandad who suffered from Parkinson's. But what inspired her to walk on the wing of a 1940s biplane on a sunny spring afternoon in Essex: "I've done a skydive before and that was fun. I'm always up for a new opportunity to do something exciting and a new experience. When I heard about the Aerobatic Tactics official approval for wing walking experiences for fundraising, I had to sign up!

"On behalf of the charity I've raised over £1,400 so it's all really worthwhile. By doing this hopefully we'll encourage others to do something like this to raise funds for Parkinson's UK and other charities. Parkinson's UK is a leading charity in the UK for support and research. The funds raised through my wing walk will be used for nursing care, information support, helpline, local support groups and towards valuable research for a cure to the disease. Parkinson's is a progressive neurological condition. One person in every 500 has Parkinson's. That's about 127,000 people in the UK."

Commenting on her wing walk Michelle said: "It was an amazing experience. I was really excited. I don't know where the bravery came from, but I just wanted to enjoy it. I'm really proud of what I've achieved for people with Parkinson's and it feels really good to give something back to the charity.  I'd definitely recommend it. Wing walking is an amazing experience and if you can raise money at the same time then even better!"

Michelle, Eastern England Fundraiser for Parkinson's UK, was inspired to sign up for the wing walk after hearing of newly approved regulations, granted by the Civil Aviation Authority in October 2013, permitting aerobatic experience company Aerobatic Tactics to provide wing walking experiences to the general public including fundraising. The Essex and Kent-based aerobatics experience company is currently the only operation in the UK legally permitting to provide wing walks to the general public.

Previously wing walking for the public was only permitted as part of air show training and whilst this allowed some individuals to experience wing walking under certain restrictions, it did not permit fundraisers to do a sponsored wing walk due to the lack of regulations. 

Michelle worked closely with Aerobatic Tactics to obtain all the relevant paperwork to get the go ahead from the charity and to successfully become the first charity wing walker in the UK. To view video of Michelle’s wing walking experience go to:

Aerobatic Tactics operates wing walking in a 1940s Boeing Stearman Biplane from Damyns Hall Aerodrome in Essex from April to October (subject to weather conditions) as well as occasional operation from Headcorn Aerodrome in Kent and other parts of the country by arrangement. The cost of one wing walk is £435 with two to four bookings reducing the cost to £400 per experience. Larger discounts are offered to multiple same day bookings for groups or corporates appealing to larger charities and organisations for daytime or evening events. 

Parkinson’s UK is organising a bespoke wing walker fundraising day on Saturday 6th September at Damyns Hall in Essex.  It is £100 to register and Parkinson’s UK requires each wing walker to raise a minimum of £750 in sponsorship.  To join this event and wing walk for Parkinson’s UK email or call Michelle Pullen Regional Fundraiser Eastern England on 0207 963 9367.

To discuss wing walking as a fundraising activity for your chosen charity or to add wing walking as a fundraising experience on your charity’s website please contact Tony Richards via email or call: 07814 641 356. To find out more about wing walking for charity visit


Note to Editors:

To discuss wing walking for editorial purposes or to arrange a charity wing walking day for an event for your publication's chosen charity please contact Samantha Williams via email or call: 07972 888 174.

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