in Check It Out, X-Geek

Balloon man flies office chair for 50 miles

Remember my mythical weather balloon project? Its become totally lame in light of Jonathan Trappe’s trip in a chair tied to 55 balloons. Saturday, he strapped himself in at the Franklin County Airport and flew 50 miles east, reaching an altitude of 14,000 feet. My put-a-camera-on-a-balloon idea just doesn’t measure up.

And how is it that a guy can risk his life tied to an office chair floating at 14,000 feet but he can’t put up a webpage chronicling the project? There’s not even anything on Youtube yet.

Update 28 May 2010: Jonathan’s crossed the English Channel!

  1. Yep, I flew my chair up above 14,000 feet. I’m in my office right now, as I type this, sitting in that very same gondola.

    I actually flew to over 13,000 feet *twice* in that flight. I went up to about 14,783 feet, then (after releasing balloons) I came back down to about 3,600 feet.

    It was still early in the day, the thermal activity hadn’t picked up yet– and I was still ready to fly. So I released ballast to arrest my descent, and continued to release ballast to initiate a climb. I then climbed back up to about 13,980 feet.

    There is a group of experimental lighter-than-air guys who build interesting things like this, and I thought that their webpage would be a perfect home for this project.

    You can see this is a project that I spent about a year putting together– and I would encourage anyone that is interested to contact their friendly local FAA certified commercial balloon pilot, who would be happy to take them for a commercial flight. Try that, and if you love it– I can recommend an excellent flight school.

    I know of two commercial guys in Raleigh who would be happy to schedule you for a flight.

    To read about the Raleigh cluster balloon project, you can visit:

    Thanks for your interest– and if you would like to come out and see FAA type-certified hot-air balloons fly in Raleigh one weekend, or even to help us crew, we’d love to have you.

    Jonathan R. Trappe

  2. Hi Jonathan. Thanks for stopping by! I figured Google would bring you my way. You’re a brave man, sir, but from the looks of things you’ve obviously done your homework. Hat’s off to you.

    I have to say ballooning is pretty cool. It certainly is the most cost-effective way to fly nowadays! Give me a shout the next time you go up!

  3. Hi Mark:

    Can you drop me an e-mail? We’re planning a flight this weekend, and thought we’d invite you out!


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