Astronaut Afraid of Heights

This article reminded me of a story my ground school instructor, Jim Judge, told us while we were working on our pilot’s license. He also taught ground school to 747 pilots. Part of any ground school is learning how to do a proper “walk around”. Walk Arounds are the procedure a pilot goes through before leaving Earth. It is simply an effort to find anything on the outside of the vehicle that could endanger the flight. He told us some of the 747 pilots feared heights. It was evident during the 747 “walk around”. There were times when the 747 pilot would be required to walk on the horizontal stabilizer (small wing in rear of plane). They needed to do this to get a good look at the vertical stabilizer also at the rear. There is a lot of distance between the horizontal stabilizer and the ground and not a lot to hold onto. My ground school class thought it was a bit funny a pilot that flies at 30,000 feet feared such a height.

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