Dressed in a gold and crimson spandex leotard and red leather boots this dancer from the Basque country is a superwoman of the clouds or as she likes to call herself “bride of the wind”.
Ainhoa Sánchez has become Spain’s one and only professional wingwalker, taking to the air to perform wingwalking for the first time just three years ago.
“Wingwalking is like dancing in the sky,” Sánchez, who as a child trained in classical dance and circus acrobatics, told The Local.
“To be on a pair of wings is like being in love, only ten times stronger,” the 39-year-old explained. “It’s pure freedom. You’re completely alone and can express your true feelings.”
But how does a nice girl from Bilbao end up doing such a daredevil sport? And one that is virtualy unheard of in Spain.
“I first got into it after doing some research for a company calendar themed on barnstorming in 1930s America. I came across some incredible pictures of wingwalking and it was completely new to me. I fell in love in that moment and well… one thing led to another!”
Less than two years later after first training for it, she made her public debut at the Northern Ireland International Airshow.
By day she works for an aviation engineering firm but during summer holidays she indulges her passion, performing at air shows across Europe.
“When you´re wingwalking, the aeroplane is like a stage, and the crowd below are like they are sitting in the theatre seats and you´re playing a role. I´m not just walking or dancing, I´m showing the crowd what I´m feeling in the deepest of my heart.”
She admits that the physical side of the performance is hard. “As a wingwalker you have to battle very strong winds. It´s really hard. The plane travels at around 140mph so you're battling a lot of pressure on the wings and need to build a lot of core strength at the gym.”
Over the last three years she has worked to establish the first wingwalking team in Spanish aviation history and this summer will launch the project as “Wingwalking Spain” at the Motril Airshow, south of Granada with a view to finding sponsorship.
“My friends and family think I’m crazy,” she concedes, “but by now they are getting used to seeing me on top of a wing.”
Keep updated with Ainhoa's aerial achievements by following her on Facebook.