Aerialist Wallenda announces plan to walk Florida observation wheel

Mon Apr 13, 2015 3:21pm EDT
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By Sebastien Malo

NEW YORK (Reuters) - High-wire walker Nik Wallenda said on Monday he will attempt to walk atop a spinning observation wheel in Orlando, Florida, a stunt made particularly difficult because the wheel will be moving, he said.

Wallenda plans to tackle the 400-foot-tall (12.92-meter) soon-to-be-unveiled Orlando Eye this month, he said at a news conference.

He said he will be walking on a 6-inch wide rim without a safety harness or balancing pole as the wheel turns.

"This is actually moving," he said. "I have to keep up with that wheel."

The Orlando Eye, part of a new entertainment complex, will offer views of central Florida from inside 30 enclosed, air-conditioned glass capsules when it opens to the public on May 4.

No distance for the performance has been set yet, but Wallenda, 36, said he was not likely to walk the entire 20 minutes or so that it takes the wheel to go a full circle.

Wallenda previously walked atop a Ferris wheel in Santa Cruz, California, but he said the size of the much larger Orlando wheel and the fact that he will not use a pole sets this stunt apart.

The seventh-generation member of the "Flying Wallenda" family of acrobats has walked across the Grand Canyon and Niagara Falls.   Continued...

Aerialist Nik Wallenda listens to question about the plans for his next feat at the Orlando Eye during a press conference in New York April 13, 2015.  REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton