Helping to Keep Wingwalkers Safe


A few tips for event organizers hosting wingwalking acts: 

Water, water and water. Wingwalkers dehydrate fast. Once airborne, heat, physical exertion and wind blast all conspire to reduce a wingwalker’s hydration levels. Lowered hydration levels lead to poor g-load management. Make sure that your wingwalkers have easy access to water throughout the day and, in particular, just prior to their performance. 

Hydration before flight also equates with evacuation before flight. A port-a-potty on the hot ramp. As more than one physician has said, if you don’t have the urge to urinate at least once an hour, you’re not drinking enough water. 

Access to air conditioning (or a heat source on cold days) before flight is also of great importance. The easiest solution to this issue is to allow performers to park their rental cars on the ramp near their aircraft. 

For remote show sites, consider that your wingwalker will be exposed to a prolonged session. If the weather is optimal, transits should pose no problem. If the weather is marginally cold, understand that your wingwalker is depleting precious energy trying to stay warm before the site is even reached. In these instances, your air boss will want to expedite entry into the box and avoid any holding patterns for the wingwalk craft. 

Bugs are no joke and a potential safety hazard. If you know that there are a lot of bugs in the vicinity of the airport, let your wingwalker know. They’ll fly a slightly higher show and avoid some of the wingwalker-meets-bug collisions that can be painful for the wingwalker (and, we suppose, for the bug as well). Similarly, if you have an active bird population at your airport, be sure to let your wingwalker know before he/she arrives at your event. 

Easy access to fuel, smoke oil and mechanical assistance alleviates much stress on show days and allows your wingwalker and his/her pilot to concentrate on the task at hand. Access to light, high calorie food prior to performances scores you bonus points.

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The International Council of Air Shows (ICAS) is a trade association dedicated to building and sustaining a vibrant air show industry to support its membership. To achieve this goal, ICAS demands its members operate their air show business at only the highest levels of safety, professionalism, and integrity.