Man who fell to earth: David Bowie’s secret fear of flying

David Bowie was a pretty fly cat. However, on Thursday a revelation about the late rock star came crashing down on social media.

The musician who penned such classics as “Space Oddity” and starred in “The Man Who Fell to Earth” was affected by a severe fear of flying.

Duncan Jones, the film director and son of David Bowie, revealed that his dad never let this phobia of air travel get in his way.

“My dad had a terrible fear of flying. I remember sitting next to him, watching his knuckles turn white as he dug his fingers into the arms of his chair every take off, every landing. Turbulance. Yet he flew all over the world for work & pleasure,” Jones said in a tweet on Thursday.

In 1972, Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust tour took him to 194 venues around the world. This big break took the singer on flights as far as Japan and the states, which we now know must have been agony.

It was the tour that made him as an international star and arguably would never have happened if he never got on a plane.

Small personal note here. My dad had a terrible fear of flying. I remember sitting next to him, watching his knuckles turn white as he dug his fingers into the arms of his chair every take off, every landing. Turbulance. Yet he flew all over the world for work & pleasure.

The tweet which has been favorited almost five thousand times has attracted attention from passengers with a shared fear of flying.

What began as a “small personal note” developed as into a full blown conversation about the phobia.

On being asked if he shared his father’s fear of flying, Jones replied he was “bipolar” on the issue: “Sometimes I’m nervous for no apparent reason, and other times I am absolutely calm.”

I remember how he took the QE2 to Europe in 2002! #Sailor⚓️
And I understand it so well – I also do not enjoy flying very much, especially not starts and landings. When I am above the clouds I forget that I do not really belong here and can enjoy… but no turbulences, pleeaze! pic.twitter.com/MOMHHx3kaH

I remember in 1976, his fear of flying resulted in a Trans Siberian Railway trip, with Iggy, from Vladivostok to Moscow, (iconic photos of them outside the Kremlin) before the STATON TO STATION tour. I saw 5 concerts at the old Empire Pool Wembley in May that year. Fantastic! ❤

Other users commented with stories how they overcame a similar fear of flying or with adventures and anecdotes that resulted from avoiding planes.

User @siwgrandaker mentioned Bowie’s “Trans Siberian Railway trip, with Iggy, from Vladivostok to Moscow,” which became the Station to Station tour through the former USSR.

Similarly a picture emerged of the Thin White Duke posing on the bridge of the cruise ship, QE2.

Fans were delighted to learn this humanising fact about their hero, particularly those who shared the phobia.

One thing’s for sure, Bowie didn’t let his fear of flying keep him or his career down.

Celebrities with a fear of flying

Ben Afflek

– The Good Will Hunting star developed a fear of flying aged 9 when his plane from Washington was struck by lightning.

Aretha Franklin – The late Queen of Soul cancelled two shows in Kansas and turned down an audience with the actual Queen after developing a fear of flying.

Whoopi Goldberg – Goldberg revealed her fear of flying in an interview with CNN, but she doesn’t let it get her down. “Some people are meant to fly. And I don’t know if I was meant to fly, but I do it now,” she said.

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