Like a lot of pilots, I'm a little afraid of heights. I'm fine on ladders and roofs but looking over railings on tall bridges or edging toward a cliff edge sets my inner ear off.
Flying or flying in an aircraft doesn't bother me in the slightest, regardless of the attitude or altitude. Those of us so afflicted don't really know why it's that way. I'm sure there's an expert explanation out there somewhere but I doubt knowing why looking down between the railings of a tall building's stairwell makes my head swim while aerobatics in a Pitts Special is a walk in the park will make any difference.
I'm pretty sure I wouldn't like skydiving so I've avoided it despite having numerous opportunities to do a tandem jump.
Something that's never come up, however, is wingwalking. I mean, why would it?
Well, a couple of weeks ago in Buochs, Switzerland, a couple of dozen people, yours truly included, were strapped to the top wings of some really nice Stearmans and given a 20-minute flight over Lake Lucerne and its environs. It was all part of a corporate event sponsored by Swiss chronometer company Breitling, which is a huge sponsor of air show acts, including the world's only formation wingwalking team.
While I'd cleverly avoided yet another chance to skydive at the same event, for some reason wingwalking intrigued rather than terrified me. Besides, skydiving opportunities abound. How often do you get a chance to wingwalk?
I was prepared to be scared but I wasn't. 1,500 feet from the top of a biplane is damned high but I felt safer on that wing than I do on a 20th floor balcony.I don't know why and I don't particularly care. Now, if I can just keep avoiding the skydiving offers....