Nov 9, 2012, 9:00 AM EDT
Whenever a guy talks about crossing a major ocean with the balloons from the movie Up, and the conversation includes the words “We’re aiming for France”, then I have to say I’m somewhat skeptical of his chances for success.
But Jonathan Trappe of Raleigh, N.C. is totally serious, and after all he has already successfully crossed the English Channel in this thing (seen pictured, and in the video below). The relevant numbers here: 2,500 miles (distance across the Atlantic); 7 feet (length of the lifeboat he’ll be in which will be carried by the balloons); $300,000 (funds he’ll need to make the trip. He’s appealing for donations online); $170,000 (money he’s already invested in the adventure).
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. Trappe plans to set off from Maine, 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. Four meteorologists are to work around the clock from a command centre in Wyoming, US, to help make sure Mr Trappe arrives safely. “Weather is the most important element of the whole crossing,” he said.
My contribution? I’ll be chanting Deshi Basara from when Bruce Wayne escaped the prison pit in Dark Knight Rises.
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