Two Daredevils Playing Tennis on Flying Airplane Wings: Fact Check


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Image about Two Daredevils Playing Tennis on Flying Airplane Wings
Two Daredevils Playing Tennis on Flying Airplane Wings

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Two Daredevils Playing Tennis on Flying Airplane Wings.

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Fascinating Pic: Two daredevils playing tennis on a flying airplane at 1000m altitude. Los Angeles, 1925.

Fact Check:

A fascinating picture in circulation online since many years purports to show Two Daredevils Playing Tennis on Flying Airplane Wings. Allegedly, the incident happened at 1000m altitude in Los Angeles back in 1925. The picture is unbelievably real, but as explained below, the two daredevils on flying airplane are not playing Tennis as such.

Colored Getty Image: Two Daredevils Playing Tennis on Flying Airplane Wings
Colored Getty Image: Two Daredevils Playing Tennis on Flying Airplane Wings

About the Two Daredevils Playing Tennis on Flying Airplane

What you see in the old picture is in fact wing walkers Ivan Unger (foreground) and daredevil girl Gladys Roy Miming a Tennis match on the upper wings of the biplane in flight. It appears like they might have taken a bit of support on legs with some strings/ropes fixed over the plane wing. The classic 1925 photograph of sky-high stunt above Los Angeles is still available as Postcard for sale.

Image Showing Lillian Boyer hangs from the wing of an Aeroplane
Lillian Boyer hangs from the wing of an Aeroplane, during one of her death-defying stunts. (Photo by Topical Press Agency/Getty Images) 1922.
Image of Richard Schindler practices a stunt. 1919
Richard Schindler practices a stunt. 1919
Image about Wing walkers show off above and below a biplane. c. 1920
Wing walkers show off above and below a biplane. c. 1920

Wing Walking and Barnstorming

Wing-walking displays were frequently a part of Barnstorming displays and air shows in the early 20th century. Barnstorming, a form of entertainment to impress people, involved stunt pilots performing tricks, either individually or in groups (see other pictures above). Once Government safety restrictions tightened, wing walking clubs and flying circuses surfaced. Ivan Unger and Gladys Roy in the ‘Airplane Tennis’ picture were in fact well-known members of the “13 Black Cats” wing-walkers in the 1920s. The dare devils during those times used to attempt death-defying stunts on airplanes and perform risky stunts like plane-to-plane transfers. Usually, the airplanes were flown at a speed of around 40 to 60 miles per hour, and the performers in air also involved few female daredevils. The video below shows some wing walkers performing dangerous stunts in air.

Skydiving, somewhat similar to wing walking, is a more popular daring activity in today’s times. However, some pilots still perform stunts on the restored vintage biplanes.

Hoax or Fact:

Partially Hoax.

References:

Wing-walking on planes was not for the faint of heart


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