Wing Walking: The Daredevil Stunt from the Early days of Aviation

Wing Walking was one of the dangerous stunts that began in the early 1920s. It was initially introduced to depict balance and stability. Wing walking was the act of moving along the wings of a biplane during flight. As the stunt became more popular, the performers would attempt more challenging positions and perform different actions, such as handstands, hanging by one’s teeth, and transferring from one aircraft to another. The golden for this dangerous stunt was to “Don’t let go of what you’ve got until you get hold of something better.”

26-year-old Ormer Locklear was among the first wing walker. He walked onto the wings of his plane. During training to fix mechanical issues mid-air without having to land. He also performed the daredevil stunt for many aerial shows. Unfortunately, he died during a wing-walking action. Eight wing walkers were killed in a relatively short period during the infancy of wing walking.

American aviator, military officer, author and inventor, Charles Lindbergh also began his career as a wing walker. The first African-American woman granted an international pilot license, Bessie Coleman, also engaged in stunts using parachutes.

The golden era of this daredevil stunt ended in the 1940s, where the authorities made clear that the parachutes had to be worn.

Also, check the Horse diving show.

#2 Ivan Unger and Gladys Roy play tennis on top of a biplane, 1925.

#3 A wing walker stands on one leg on the wing of a Curtiss ‘Flying Jenny’ biplane in the air above New Jersey, 1920.

#4 Wing walkers show off above and below a biplane, 1920.

#5 Famous wing walker Lillian Boyer dangles from the wing of a biplane, 1922.

#7 Lillian Boyer hanging from right wing boom using her right hand, 1920s.

#9 Gladys Roy walks the wings of a Curtiss JN-4 ‘Jenny’ biplane over Los Angeles while blindfolded, 1924.

#11 Richard Schindler practices a trick on a Klemp plane piloted by Richard Perlia, 1927.

#12 Billy Bomar and Uva Kimmey of the Howard Flying Circus wing-walk on a biplane over New York State, 1930.

#13 Juanita Jover takes a ride strapped to the wings of her boyfriend, stunt pilot Lewis Benjamin’s Tiger Moth biplane, 1962.

#14 Jacqui Cheesman rides the wing of a Tiger Moth biplane at Wycombe Air Park, Buckinghamshire, England, 1968.

#15 Moira Boyd strapped onto the wing of a Tiger Moth biplane at Wycombe Air Park. 1968.

#16 John Kazian mounts the wing of a Stearman Trainer plane flying over Niagara Falls, 1971.

#17 Carol Lynne rides atop a biplane piloted by her husband over Toronto, 1982.

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Written by Benjamin Grayson

Former Bouquet seller now making a go with blogging and graphic designing. I love creating & composing history articles and lists.

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