The Sky Is The Limit For High-Flying Window Washers


UPDATED: Wednesday June 27, 2012 4:51 PM

As the first rays of sunlight beam down on the windows of the city’s skyscrapers, crews get to work.

The first order of business is to get out of the shop and get to the glass.

“This is a big market out here; everything that has a window is a potential customer,” Columbus Window Cleaning Company President Lynn Elliott said

The company calls those on the front line “airmen,” because they are not happy until they anchor thousands of feet of half-inch nylon rope and take the leap of faith over the side of the building, 10TV’s Jeff Hogan reported.

“That’s what it is,” said Director of Operations James Waddy. “There’s no turning back now. Once you’re over there, you’re over, bud.”

What is peaceful for the workers would paralyze others with fear.

To minimize that fear, the window washers are trained in high-rise rescue to get themselves out of trouble. They spend hours in weekly and monthly safety classes.

The attention to detail could be the difference between life and death, window cleaning specialist Chad Williams said.

“Unless you have done it, don’t say that you can, because men get killed,” Williams said.

Wind is one of the “airmen’s” biggest enemies.

“If it’s too windy, there’s nothing you can do. You could be lined up here, and if it’s windy out there, it could blow you clear over there,” Waddy said.

A turf-war exists between the window washers and falcons.

“Out of nowhere, they’ll be dive-bombing,” Waddy said.

Window washing is a job for those who like a vertical challenge – a mid-air ballet holding a bucket of water, Hogan reported.

Window cleaning specialist Allen Wood said people are captivated by what they do.

“I guess we blow their mind,” Wood said. “They don’t see too much of this too often. They see somebody hanging down, rappelling 600 feet on a rope. It’s kind of like a wow issue, you know.”

Elliot said that she was happy with her life in the sky.

“There is nothing better than this,” she said.

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