Sunday, May 30, 2010

American First 'Cluster Balloonist' to Cross English Channel

American adventurer, Jonathan Trappe, became the first person to cross the English Channel by helium, alone.  The 36-year-old Trappe attached 54 balloons to a wicker chair and floated 22 miles over four hours from Kent to Dunkirk, France. 

Forced to cut some of the balloons to avoid floating into restricted airspace, winds blew Trappe off course, and he crash-landed in a cabbage patch, where authorities awaited him.  Things looked bad for a moment -- until Trappe produced his passport and documentation, proving he was authorized to land there.  He met with both British and French civil aviation authorities before launch. 

Last month, Trappe floated 109 miles in 14 hours across North Carolina, claiming the world's record for the longest free-floating cluster balloon flight.  A Roman Catholic priest attempted to grab that record in 2008, but received a Darwin Award instead. 


Trappe claims to have reached 18,000' on another flight.

© C Harris Lynn, 2010

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