Carl Frederickson's house flight powered by helium balloons in Pixar's Up, has inspired many people. First the balloons were used to pull a tugboat under the London Bridge then, they helped lift Jonathan Trappe across the English Channel. However, none of the adventures were even close to those experienced by Carl and Russell, until recently, when a team from National Geographic got involved.
Inspired by the movie, the creative folks at National Geographic's new show 'How Hard Can It Be?' decided to test if a house could really be airborne with just helium balloons. Right off the bat they knew that it would never work with a normal house.
Therefore the team, which comprised scientists, engineers and dozens of volunteers, began by constructing a special lightweight house, that could not only fly, but also, be strong enough to carry two people, whilst airborne.
Once the abode that measured 4.8mx4.8mx5.5m, was ready, they filled 300 balloons with a tank of helium each, attached them to eight-foot long strings and tethered the bunch to the lightweight house and stood with abated breath - Sure enough, slowly but gradually, it went . . Up Up and Away! Steered by two balloon pilots, the helium-powered house flew across California's Mojave Desert, for an entire hour!
Besides taking credit for the first successful 'house flight', the team also set a new record for the largest cluster balloon flight ever attempted. The video below depicts a small portion of this historic flight, but to learn how the scientists and engineers pulled off this amazing stunt, you will have to watch the show when it airs on the National Geographic channel, this fall.