You amateur aviators out there might be entertained with this story from CNN. Apparently a gentleman named Kent Couch spent last Saturday afternoon flying his lawn chair around the state of Oregon. Couch was trying to emulate the flying skills of Larry Walters -- who in 1982 rose three miles above Los Angeles in a lawn chair lifted by balloons. Couch took a 9 hour 163 mile flight last Saturday, taking off from his back yard and landing in a farmer’s field 193 miles away. He brought a few snacks and a parachute in case he had to bail out. Apparently his previous flight ended in an unanticipated skydive when he shot too many balloons with his BB gun in an effort to control his altitude. Who say’s Americans are no longer capable of great things?
Apparently in this little stunt has been turned into a full-fledged sport called "Cluster Ballooning". The idea is not, ahem, rocket science. What you do is attach a bunch of big-ass helium balloons to a harness, release some ballast when you want to go up and pop the balloons when you want to come down. The method seems hardly scientific enough to ensure gentle rises or soft landings. Nevertheless, cluster balloon, ah, aficionados, have their own website which asks the (one would imagine) infrequently asked question, "Have you ever dreamed of being carried into the sky by a giant bouquet of colorful toy balloons?" Those of you who have in fact asked such a question may find the answer there.