Local News

Man crosses Carolina skies in cluster-balloon chair

Posted April 10, 2010 10:55 p.m. EDT
Updated April 12, 2010 4:36 p.m. EDT

— North Carolina pilot Jonathan Trappe flew across the sky Saturday attached to a specialized cluster-balloon chair.

The cluster balloon was launched Saturday afternoon from the Wings of Carolina Flying Club in Sanford.

By 9 p.m., Trappe was flying over Pittsboro, and by 6:15 a.m. Sunday, he was northwest of Goldsboro. At one point, he reached a height of 7,000 feet.

"Flying a gas balloon is unlike any other experience. There is no sound. No propellers, no jet engines. No burner, no heart-thumping rotors of a helicopter. Not even the wind that gliders experience. This is true, silent flight,” Trappe wrote on ClusterBalloon.com.

Trappe’s helium balloon flights are conducted in compliance with Federal Aviation Administration regulations.

His in-flight safety equipment includes two-way aircraft radios, altitude encoding transponder, aviator’s breathing oxygen, pilot parachute, GPS and an emergency locator beacon.

Organizers said Trappe landed shortly after 7 a.m. Sunday in Fremont.

Trappe is planning to fly over the English Channel in late May or early June, organizers said.