03 Dec 2015

Anyone for wing walking?

Fancy standing on a biplane wing as it soars through the air? A few lucky visitors to the FAI World Air Games got to do just that.

The courageous individuals, who tried out wing walking for the first time while flying over the sand dunes around the Skydive Dubai Desert Dropzone, were in the capable hands of the Breitling wing walking team.

Ian Logan was among the four participants to be strapped into a five-point, military-style harnesses on top of the two classic Stearman biplanes.

The planes have been used for wing walking since the 1930s thanks to their stable handling and relatively low airspeed. They accelerate slowly along the runway, giving the novice wing walkers time to acclimatise to breathing in the face of the 100mph airspeed that they face as the planes get airborne.

"It's a bit like riding an motorbike without a helmet," said Breitling team member Sarah Tanner, who has almost 10 years experience of performing gymnastics on wings. Helmets cause too much drag, so the wing walkers only wear goggles and special overalls.

Looking flushed, Logan hugged and thanked his pilot enthusiastically as he stepped off the biplane. "It was amazing," he said. "I'm a pilot too, so it's amazing to be out on the wing like this."

From now on, when he looks at out of the cockpit window at the wing, he'll have an even better idea what it's like out there.

Andy Pag

Photo: Marcus King/FAI Media Team 



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