Suspended by your toe straps, a thousand feet above the earth and watching the horizon silently slip beneath you while at the top of an inverted loop is about as magical as the world can be….moon ponies not withstanding.
Lying on the javelin holds its own special secret. If you turn your head slightly away from the fuselage, you lose all reference to the aircraft. At just the right angle, it completely disappears. Wing walkers are among the privileged few who know exactly what it’s like to be Superman in flight.
The complete and abandoned control that you allow another human being to exert over your personal safety and well being can not be accurately quantified or qualified. To willingly and freely relinquish this mantle of responsibility to another is to renew one’s faith in humanity on an ongoing basis. Trusting another on this level is beyond liberating.
The crushing call of gravity, inexorably calls you back to earth. It starts in your knees, climbs up your legs and tries to weigh you down in multiplying increments. You can feel the aircraft labouring beneath you through the soles of your shoes. The call is denied with the simple and judicious application of more horsepower. It almost feels like cheating. It is cheating and I, as a wingwalker, am fortunate enough to be getting away with way more fun that any one person deserves.
No matter how many times I revisit this question, I am always left feeling that my answer is completely inadequate. What I can not seem to effectively express is how the simple act of clinging to an aircraft in flight can makes my soul sign in a way that would surely shame the seraphim.
Wing walking may well appear to be an act of sheer lunacy. I can assure you that it is so much more. Wing walking is not something to be survived but rather, it is something that I entirely depend upon to preserve my own sanity and ultimately, to achieve some small measure of happiness in a world that I don’t entirely espouse.
No matter how many times I’ve been asked the question, I have yet to find the answer that is inclusive of all aspects of what is truly at hand. The factual answer must encompass, the physical, the emotional and the intellectual stimuli encountered in order to be comprehensive and accurate .It’s all a bit beyond my means.
What I do know is this: There exists only one true freedom, the freedom to exercise ones option of responsibility…responsibility for self and for others. To be a wingwalker is to accept this responsibility and once you have accepted the responsibility of upholding the trust that others have place in you, there is simply no denying it and no turning back. I am a wingwalker because somewhere between throttle-up and landing, I am given the responsibility of ultimate freedom. How could anyone refuse such a thing?
Throttle it up, Baby!