REVIEW: Flying the wingsuit

By Amy Middleton 4 August 2009
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Heather Swan’s new book details how she went from single mother to superwoman – cape and flying ability included.

You’ve looked at the cover: a glaring red wingsuit that carried an inspired Aussie mum to soaring heights.

It’s the stuff of fiction – and it’s the framework for the autobiography of Heather Swan, the single-mother-cum-adventurer who brings to life the fairytale archetype, swept from her ordinary life, headed for a higher existence – and more literally than you’d imagine.

If there needs to be a Prince Charming, then Heather’s was mountaineer and BASEjumper Glenn Singlemann, who had his first influence on Heather when he visited her workplace as a motivational speaker – three years later they were married.

But don’t think this damsel needed a bloke to rescue her from an oppressive life. Meeting Glenn was merely the catalyst for Heather to transform herself from an office-tired, corporate single-mother, to world-record holder in the kind of extreme sport that makes parents blindfold their kids.

An ordinary woman takes on a new life in adventure

Rock-climbing, mountaineering and skydiving became the regular routine in Heather’s new life, and demanded the fitness levels of a world-class athlete. Moreover, Heather competed in intensely male-dominated sports – often coming out on top.

No Ceiling reflects a female perspective on some of society’s limitations imposed on women aiming for the sky. Heather, who is also an award-winning writer, writes to the climax of her iconic world-record BASEjumping attempt; armed with her red wingsuit and the glowing determination of a woman on a mission.

Heather is consistently championed by Australian Geographic; we love how comprehensively her story encapsulates the spirit of adventure we’re always harping on about. It’s no wonder she was a recipient of the Spirit of Adventure Award from the AG Society.

Like many fairytales, the moral of the story is never to give up on your dreams. But this is reality, and the dream was even bolder than fiction – it’s the true story of a woman who learned to fly.

WATCH: Video – Heather and Glenn in the air
READ: The high adventure of Heather and Glenn