His parents — both highwire walkers — used to ram home the importance of being prepared for the unexpected, pelting him with pine cones as he swayed on a practice wire in their garden, or coming up behind him and shaking the wire.
The troupe never used safety nets after one of them bounced out of a net and died.
There Wallenda was 200ft above the falls, this time he was 1,500ft (higher than the Empire State Building) above the ground.
The TV company that broadcast the Niagara stunt — loth to confront viewers with a sudden, dramatic death — insisted he wear a harness.
Organisers promised that the only weather condition that would delay the walk was lightning anywhere within a 15-mile radius — Wallenda, after all, carries a 43lb metal balancing pole attached around his neck by a brace.
He had anticipated the walk would take 20 to 30 minutes.
Wallenda told Discovery after the walk that the winds were at times 'unpredictable' and that dust had accumulated on his contact lenses.