A 36-year-old North Carolina man
has made an unusual crossing of the English Channel. He suspended
himself in a specially-equipped chair under a massive and colorful
cluster of helium balloons and drifted across the channel. When it
came time to descend in France, he simply cut away a few balloons
and came back to earth.
Jonathan Trappe's flight lasted about 5 hours. And while the
crossing may have seemed idyllic, it was far from a lark. Trappe
said on his website that he meticulously planned the event, gaining
clearance from both British and French aviation authorities before
attempting the crossing. On his chair, he carried a transponder,
aircraft radios, an ELT, supplemental oxygen, and other safety
The Associated Press reports that Trappe told Sky News, which
covered the event, that it was a "quiet, peaceful experience."
The tracking map on the website shows that Trappe reached a
maximum altitude of 7011 feet during his crossing, landing a few
miles west of Dunkerque, France. Local police said he reportedly
gave the landowner where he came down a little something for
damages to his property.
Trappe claimed the record for the longest free-floating balloon
flight last month according to AP. He drifted for some 14 hours
over North Carolina, reaching an altitude of just under FL180.
Trappe holds a balloon rating from the FAA.