For those of you have seen Pixar's Up, you may recall 78-year old Carl and eight-year old Russell, who flew off in a house lifted by helium balloons. Now, an American man has accomplished a similar journey - However instead of flying thousands of miles inside a house, he sat in an office chair and 'flew' 22 miles, across the English Channel.
On May 28th, North Carolina resident, Jonathan R. Trappe, became the first person to cross the English Channel using helium balloons. While the flight was inspired by 'Up', Jonathan was definitely more prepared for emergencies than Carl and Russell. His hi-tech chair was equipped with a GPS tracker, an aircraft transponder, an oxygen system, an aircraft radio, an emergency locator beacon and an in-flight satellite tracking system.
The adventurer's epic journey began shortly after 5.am when he strapped himself to a chair that was attached to 54 helium-filled balloons and launched off from the Kent Gilding club near Ashford. It took him about an hour to travel 10 miles to the White Cliffs of Dover and then, another 45 minutes of blissful floating across the English Channel. He moderated his altitude by snipping off balloons as he flew.
The 37-year old had a dream journey and the only thing that did not go according to his plan was his landing - Thanks to a strong wind, he veered off course, and had to crash land into a cabbage field to avoid a restricted flying zone.
While he had do some explaining about his landing to the bemused French Police, he did have the right permissions and was soon allowed to go and celebrate being the first 'cluster' balloonist to cross the English Channel.
This is not the first time the adventurer has made headlines - Just last month, he claimed the world record for the longest cluster balloon flight, floating for 109 miles in the skies of North Carolina, and prior to that set the longest distance record for flying using a gas balloon and, . . . . . . the list goes on and on. To read about all of Jonathan's fun adventures, check out his website: www.clusterballoon.com.
Sources: kktv.com, telegraph.co.uk, tonic.com, metro.co.uk.