English Channel: Helium Balloons’ Successful Flight

May 30, 2010

For Jonathan Trappe, there is only one way to cross the English Channel: helium balloons! Inspired by childhood dreams, the American adventurist made a very high tech and totally legal aircraft and floated from England to France! Read more about his journey below the photo, including a great video.

Helium Balloons 2

After about 2 years of honing his technique, on Friday Trappe made the first successful flight of this kind across the body of water. And though it seems like a dare devilish type of stunt, he actually takes it very seriously and has actually gone through certifications and precautions with all the authorities!

At 36 years old, he broke a world record when he practiced over his home in North Carolina for the flight across the English Channel. Helium balloons in various sizes are affixed to a specially designed chair. But it’s not just that simple!

He spent two years getting his certification from the FAA for this type of flight; he got all the proper authorizations for the journey, and brings other important equipment such as oxygen and an aircraft transponder. He gets lots of attention for his sophisticated clustering technique, but for Trappe, it is the serenity of the air travel and the thrill of the idea that excites him!

“It was just an exceptional, quiet, peaceful experience.”

Once he landed in a field in France he was asked why he chooses this type of apparatus, and he explained:

“Didn’t you have this dream, grabbing on to a bunch of toy balloons and floating off? I think it’s something that’s shared across cultures and across borders — just this wonderful fantasy of grabbing on to toy balloons and floating into open space.”

So really he has taken a simple childhood fantasy and turned it into a realistic adult experience! I guess that’s a fun way to grow up! Tell me what you think of Jonathan Trappe’s English Channel helium balloon crossing. And don’t miss this video of his landing!

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