B1 Intermediate US 44 Folder Collection
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(upbeat music)
- Imagine as a child, you thought,
if you could just get enough helium balloons,
could you float away?
And we're normally told, no, that's not possible.
You're not going to be able to fly with the helium balloons.
But I revisited that idea as an adult.
And I argued if one balloon provides some unit of lift,
why wouldn't we be able to scale that?
And that's what we're doing.
I'm flying my chair.
My name is Trappe and I am a technical projects manager at a
large IT consulting firm as a day job.
But I have a unusual passion hobby,
which is to take helium balloons, toy, helium balloons,
and assemble them in massive clusters for manned flight.
These are loons that were never intended to support manned
flight, but that's what we've caused them to do.
- 17,100 still climbing.
- That passion has carried me aloft on
more than a dozen flights across as many years.
Sometimes it's just me,
just my body in a tiny little harness,
sometimes we're flying bigger things, I've flown houses.
What a thing to say,
I've flown houses, two of them.
We were flying these toy helium balloons
before the Disney Pixar film "Up."
But I will say this, that the film "Up" also inspired us.
Now, the idea of flying a house under toy helium balloons
absolutely came from the Disney Pixar film.
(upbeat music)
One of the things I love about flying these helium balloons
is they have the capability
for real expedition level flights.
What I'm talking about is flights of 23,000 feet in an open
gondola carried only by helium balloons.
13,000 feet, as we cross the Alps.
It varies from a small cluster, to a dozen balloons
to extraordinarily large towering clusters,
365 of these massive balloons.
We've flown clusters for 10 hours, 12 hours, 14 hours.
The longest we've ever flown in a single flight, 466 miles.
When I take off, I don't know where I'm going to put down.
I'll select a safe place to land in flight,
but I'm flying hundreds of miles without knowing exactly
where I'll land.
We're good, we're down.
So it's a mix of art and science.
The art is the colorful cluster appealing balloons,
but the science is,
it is quite serious and I treat it seriously.
There's human life at stake, my life and the lives of those
I share the sky with and the lives of those under me.
Hello, how are you?
We work with the Federal Aviation Administration in terms of
getting the aircraft certified.
London, this is Gas Balloon calling
to activate my flight plan,
took me about a year to go to flight school,
get a pilots license.
And after about a year of tests and training and
certifications, we made our first flight.
I'm using my standard office chair as my gondola
for that flight.
When you're up there, it's not just leisure and relaxation.
You're floating away.
You have moments of that, but there's a lot more time
spent thinking, okay, am I heading the right direction?
Do I have any airspace where obstacles in front of me.
Okay, we're climbing 120, right at 18,000 feet.
So just trying to get this guy to a zero pressure figure,
you have to fly the aircraft.
If I'm climbing and I need to initiate a descent,
I need to vent helium.
Balloons are bio degradable.
So we can also cut the balloons away,
cut away individual balloons.
So there's a whole calculation and it changes every flight,
depending on what I'm flying.
The feeling of launching is unparalleled,
it's not like anything else.
To fly an aircraft that's completely silent, makes no sound.
We're approaching sunset.
It's really beautiful out there.
There's no rotor, there's no prop, there's no jet.
There's no burner like a hot air balloon.
There's no roar of wind like you get in a glider.
It's completely silent.
Like, listen.
There's no sound.
So what's the whole point of this.
Why do it?
It's to lead an interesting life.
That is the most beautiful moonrise I've seen
in my entire life.
It enriches my life to look back and reflect
on what we've accomplished.
I have all of those moments as prized memories to keep me
warm in my old age.
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How One Man Flies Hundreds of Miles Using Balloons

44 Folder Collection
Seina published on August 10, 2020
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