Oregon Balloonist Takes To The Skies Again - This Time With A Buddy!

By Meera Dolasia on August 4, 2010

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Kent Couch is an experienced aviator who has made several trips over the beautiful plains of Oregon and all the way into Central Idaho, sitting comfortably on his helium balloon propelled lawn chair. On July 24th, the 50-year old thrill-seeker decided to it once more - this time, with his pal, 59-year old, John Fries.

Starting from Kent's favorite launching area near Couch's Shell Stop in Bend, Oregon, the two adventurers took off simultaneously, cheered on by a crowd of 100 volunteers. In a bid to break the 109 mile distance record set by Jonathan Trappe earlier this year, the two had hoped to race all the way to Idaho and maybe, even as far as, Montana.

However, this was not a very lucky day for either competitor. With very little wind to propel them, the two could not get going. While John flew in a fairly straight line, Kent who was also plagued by a malfunction in his ballast equipment took a little detour heading further North initially, and then further South over the desert, before finally meeting up with his buddy and landing east of Prineville in Central Oregon.

During the seven hour ordeal, Kent managed to cover a distance of only 112 km (62 miles), while John did little better with 117km (72 miles). Though they did not break the distance record, they did have a very peaceful time and, are officially in the Guinness Book of Records for the first-ever double launch and cluster balloon race!

What's next? Not much according to Kent - He believes he has done it all and says he is retiring from cluster ballooning. Why do we have a sneaky feeling that he will be back soon!





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  • diamondkid
    diamondkidThursday, March 5, 2015 at 11:53 am
    • LilMissMonday, October 1, 2012 at 4:20 pm
      I live in Bend, OR and love it!!! It's so cool that this is in the news and mentions my hometown!!!!
      • mar Thursday, September 27, 2012 at 6:25 pm
        i want to try that someday!!!!!
        • lala lopseWednesday, July 18, 2012 at 3:21 pm
          i want to do that jelouse
          • eldavis
            eldavisThursday, May 24, 2012 at 9:14 am
            i like pretty balloons!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
            • jr oregonThursday, May 10, 2012 at 10:15 am
              oregon is my last name i want to vist oregon some day
              • VIVIANNA Friday, February 17, 2012 at 7:33 pm
                Wow what pretty squash!!!!!
                • THE SQUASHFriday, February 17, 2012 at 7:31 pm
                  I ant to do that
                  • swirlylollypops
                    swirlylollypopsFriday, February 10, 2012 at 11:16 am
                    Big Ballons!!!!! give me one!!!!
                    • janetFriday, July 1, 2011 at 7:53 pm
                      I hope this big oregon balloonist will be happy with his buddy.

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