Balloons and a Chair: The Only Way to Fly (to France)

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Balloons and a Chair: The Only Way to Fly (to France)

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Taking a cue from Calvin and Hobbes, an American adventurer has successfully crossed the English Channel in an office chair tethered to a bunch of big, colorful helium balloons.

Jonathan Trappe of North Carolina is a man with a vision. Specifically, a vision of floating through the sky in a chair strapped to a bunch of balloons. But unlike most people, who have the common sense to leave such flights of fancy firmly in the realm of the imagination, Trappe decided to actually make it happen.

His journey, which he described as an "exceptional, quiet, peaceful experience," began in Kent in southeast England and lasted for about five hours, eventually coming to an end in a French cabbage patch after he cut away a few of the balloons in order to descend. "Didn't you have this dream, grabbing on to a bunch of toy balloons and floating off?" Trappe said when asked why he did it. "I think it's something that's shared across cultures and across borders - just this wonderful fantasy of grabbing on to toy balloons and floating into open space."

He's not just a wacko with some helium and a lot of free time, however. Before heading over to Old Blighty, the fully-licensed balloonist conducted a 14-hour test flight at an altitude of 7000 feet over his home state, earning him a world record for the longest "cluster balloon" flight. He also brought along an aircraft transponder, oxygen, aircraft radios, emergency locator beacon and satellite and radio tracking equipment, and even pre-cleared his trip with British and French aviation, customs and immigration officials.

"I believe he even gave something to the owner of the land where he came down by way of damages," a spokesman for French police said.

"There are risks and we work to methodically reduce the risk so we can have a safe and fun flight," Trappe added. "Because really it's only about dreams and enjoying an adventure, and that's only enjoyable when it is safe."

Source: 10News.com

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YES! North Carolina, home of the awesome:
The Escapist
First Flight
Epic Games
Red Storm Entertainment
and...A guy who crossed the english channel with balloons?

and of course...me!

Woo NC!

Just one strong breeze and youre in the atlantic unless of course you don't starve before you hit America. Trying to catch pigeons to eat as they pass by.

Still that looks really fun.

Awesome. I would do something like this... well maybe not but still pretty cool.

I remember watching a Mythbusters episode about flying in a balloon-chair.

Still, good job I guess?

Well, guy has watched alot of UP. Epic though, certainly unique

Those balloons must be made of win.

Well, congrats to the guy. Had a dream and executed it to success. What's more of an achievement is that someone got a Darwin award for doing something very similar.

I watched the start of his flight this monring when i got up for work. I thought it was epic. He sounds liek a really nice bloke. I would love to do somethign like that. Still, doesnt beat James May's flying caravan!

Thats...amazing. Really, kudos to the guy!

I'm just curious as to how he's going to change the direction of his flight if the wind changes...

This reminds me of that one guy who got up to 3000 feet on his lawn chair. Any way, cudos dude.

Something about this story makes me smile

Go for around the world!

Now that's awesome. I'll be the next person to do something epic just you watch.

Nurb:
Something about this story makes me smile

Thank you for that video, I really, really love Pogo's stuff.

As for the OP; that sounds like a lot of fun, I certainly wish I could go on an adventure like that :)

Nurb:
Something about this story makes me smile

A house and balloons, the only way to fly (to south America).

Warning, flying by house could cause encounters with talking dogs, giant birds, asian boy scouts, and pure story telling beauty.

DividedUnity:
Just one strong breeze and youre in the atlantic unless of course you don't starve before you hit America. Trying to catch pigeons to eat as they pass by.

Still that looks really fun.

While I do not know for certain, considering how much preparations he made, it is not a stretch of imagination to think that he planned the trip according to meteorological forecasts. It also helps that the wind coming from the northern Atlantic generally blows in a southeastern direction.

Anyway, many props to him for realising his dream and even more props for being very careful about it and making detailed preparations. Most people would probably not even bother to put that much effort and would potentially get themselves killed in the process.

Ewwwww..

Why would anyone want to go to France?

Other than to invade it of course.

A good start......

Now I want my Balloon House, a South American waterfall, A highly emotional life, An asian kid, a talking Dog, And maybe eve......SQUIRREL!

This man....he is awesome.

That is really cool.

Pure awesome.

Pimppeter2:
Ewwwww..

Why would anyone want to go to France?

Other than to invade it of course.

Invasion by means of balloons and chair, the silent killers.

He took off near where I live. :)

I salute him. He's right, who didn't want that sad helium-filled piece of shiny plastic that your mum bought when you whined enough, to fly you up. You know you jumped and tried it.

Bob_F_It:
Well, congrats to the guy. Had a dream and executed it to success. What's more of an achievement is that someone got a Darwin award for doing something very similar.

This is what I was thinking about. If he had failed and through some tragic mistake fallen to his death, I bet most of the people in this article would be mocking him for trying such a foolish thing. Can;t say I wouldn't be thinking the same thing myself. Though that's probably just because of the sheer implausibility of this thing. As stated in the article, the idea of floating through the sky in a chair with balloons has often been portrayed in many things across cultures, ranging from books, movies, to even video games. It is something you would associate with pure fantasy. And when somebody tries to make fantasy into reality, you mock them for it because it seems like a futile thing to do. But then when you actually go and do what was considered impossible, it becomes something very impressive and commendable.

Wow...uh...good on him I guess.

My head hurts.

That is just awesome. This guy has done something the rest of us could only dream of doing.

All i can think now is 'i want to do it' I'd love to fly off on an office chair, thats just epic!

Why did he not record it?

The next step? A couch. Then it will eventually culminate into the scenario from "Up". Only with out the whole life journey quest thing (unless you're into that)... and the little boy... that'd just be creepy...

This information shall prove usefull in my plans to fly to vancouver on a toilet and ballons.

AWESOME!! That is quite possibly the best thing I've heard all morning *whisper* oh, it's the ONLY thing I've heard all morning, so YES it IS the best thing I've heard all morning, CONGRATULATIONS!!

Wait, isn't that illegal?

Well judging by how he did that test flight I guess it's not.

But that's really a motivating story.

I saw this yesterday on the Dutch News. He has some serious bawlz of steels when he attempted that, he admitted he was nervous but he was practially sitting on some thing with equipment strapped onto everything.

What if he would lean forward too much and fall into the water. Perish the thought! Amazing he pulled it off!

looks like a lot of fun :)

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