I Don't Believe I Can Fly

I Don't Believe I Can Fly

April 3, 2013
I Don't Believe I Can Fly

I wouldn’t say I’ve suffered for my “art,” but I have done a few somewhat risky things.

I’ve squatted in front of a charging loader to find the right angle for a photo. I’ve strapped myself into a rickety airboat bumping along gator-infested Louisiana swamps with a toothless guy nicknamed “Stumpy” at the helm. And I can’t swim.

Then there were the times I climbed atop fetid garbage piles in Florida landfills—in July. I was happy to do these things in the course of writing about equipment, but I think I’ve finally found something I won’t do.

A company called AirEmotion is offering journalists covering Bauma in Munich the chance to dangle/fly above all the iron on display, without a net. Here’s their pitch:

“An extraordinary event will take place at the Bauma 2013: you can fly above the exhibition center to a height of over 164 feet and enjoy an inspiring panoramic view during the flight…Don’t miss out on the chance of this breathtaking Bauma experience! Tightly secured, you will take off from the Heavy Mover of Paul-Nutzfahrzeuge and rotate on a crane above Bauma with swinging wings until you touch down safely in the landing zone! You can’t miss this unique experience!”

It all sounds so happy! What about insurance? Or approval from EU-OSHA? Maybe a form listing next-of-kin?

No, count me out. I’m not sure there’s enough German beer available to make me strap on those wings, let alone soar with smiling strangers. I tell you, there’s something ominous about those smiles. I’m pretty sure that kid shouldn’t be pulling on those wings.

Taking a last look at that photo up top, they look so carefree. So did several members of the Flying Wallenda Family, as I recall.

If there’s even a remote chance I can become a human Jackson Pollock painting as a result of doing something, I’d at least like to have some metal around me. Give me a fighting chance at survival, not thin Hollywood prop wings.

It reminds me of all those Red Bull Flugtag entries that seem to crash. But I’ll make a deal with you, faithful reader, for a very good cause.

If 10 of you reading this fill out a nomination for our Under 40 In Construction Equipment Awards by April 15 (and I’m talking about earnestly filled-out forms, not “I nominate Bill because he’s smart and nice”), I’ll take myself off the no-fly list and make sure there’s photographic evidence of my Icarus-ian gamble in Germany.

When you complete your form, simply include the letter “F” at the very end of the last response required (no, it doesn’t stand for “fall,” smart guy); that way we’ll know you’ve read this blog.

I dare you to dare me.