‘Up’ and Away: Man Crosses English Channel with Helium Balloons

By Bradley Blackburn

May 28, 2010 11:20am

ABC’s Bradley Blackburn reports:

Life imitated Pixar’s ‘Up’ today in Europe, as a man successfully crossed the English Channel in the air… held aloft by colorful helium balloons. American Jonathan Trappe, 36, is the first person to accomplish the feat, living out a fantasy that many have dreamed. “Didn’t you have this dream, grabbing on to a bunch of balloons and floating off?” Trappe asked reporters.  “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.” Trappe hitched a bunch of balloons to a chair, but his rig was a little more complex than a toy or the house in ‘Up.’  He took navigation equipment, tracking devices and an oxygen system along for the ride, which was approved by aviation officials. Trappe took off early this morning from Kent and five hours later landed in a cabbage patch in France, descending by cutting off balloons. “It was just an exceptional, quiet, peaceful experience,” he told reporters upon returning to ground. It’s not Trappe’s first balloon journey — he made a similar trip in his home state of North Carolina last month, traveling 109 miles.  Click here to see video of Trappe’s flight. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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