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Friday, 9 November 2012

'Up' adventurer plans flight across Atlantic with 365 helium balloons -

'Up' adventurer plans flight across Atlantic with 365 helium balloons - 

Jonathan Trappe, 38, plans to fly 2,500 miles across the pond next summer in a seven-foot lifeboat carried by the balloons.
Mr Trappe has harnessed the huge public interest in his previous adventures to launch a $300,000 appeal to crowd-fund online the expensive helium and special UV resistant balloons he will need for his record-breaking flight. He has already invested $170,000 into the mission.
The Atlantic crossing has presented a challenge to balloonists for decades. Five others have died attempting it, and none have achieved the crossing attached to cluster balloons.
In 2010, Mr Trappe made global headlines when he flew from England to Belgium dangling from scores of helium balloons - just like the Disney character Carl Fredricksen from the film "Up".
The balloonist, from Raleigh, North Carolina, is learning to sail a lifeboat, in case he needs to ditch into the ocean during the mission.

The unique gondola will have an open roof for take-off but a canopy to protect its pilot from high-altitude winds and frostbite during the crossing.
If something goes wrong, Mr Trappe will change out of his UV protection suit into a cold water suit, pop enough balloons to bring the gondola close to the water, and attempt to land in the ocean.
Mr Trappe will float at between 18,000ft and 25,000ft, beating his previous world altitude record of 21,600ft. Previously the furthest distance he had flown uninterrupted was a world record 230 miles. To achieve the crossing, he must fly ten times that.
Mr Trappe plans to set off from Maine, USA, and set a course for Paris, France. He will be at the mercy of the elements, however, and could have to land anywhere from Norway to North Africa, or be forced to abort and ditch into the ocean.

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