Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Lawn Chair Larry

Today is the anniversary of Lawn Chair Larry's famous flight.

On July 2, 1982 in San Pedro California, 33-year-old Vietnam veteran Larry Walters filled 45 weather balloons with helium and tied them to a lawn chair. He floated quickly up to about 16,000 feet. To descend, he shot some of the balloons with a pellet gun. He landed in some high-voltage power transmission lines but did not get electrocuted. After hanging there for awhile the fire department got him down. This is not an urban legend. It's true!
More info on Larry's flight

Larry inspired others to imitate his craziness. In 1984, pilot Kevin Walsh tied 57 helium balloons to a chair and floated above Massachusetts for awhile. When he was done sightseeing he cut his lines and parachuted to safety.

In 2007, 48 year-old Kent Couch tied 105 balloons to a chair and floated 193 miles across Oregon. He was trying to make it to Idaho He also landed safely.

In April of 2008 in Brazil Roman Catholic Rev. Adelir Antonio de Carli tried the same trick. He tied hundreds of helium-filled party balloons to a chair and quickly ascended to almost 20,000 feet. It didn't work out for him. He is still missing. More info and photos.

These guys were definitely adventurers in the Zone. They aren't the only ones doing this either. Check out this website.

Below is a photo of Kent Couch floating somewhere over Bend, Oregon.

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