US man plans to fly across the Atlantic – using helium balloons

A man from North Carolina is planning to fly from Maine, in the US, to Europe this summer in a dinghy attached to a huge bundle of balloons.

Jonathan Trappe has already flown in a similar contraption across the Alps, the English Channel and Lake Michigan, and last November made a test flight during the Leon International Balloon Festival in Mexico.

He predicts that he will require more than 360 balloons to stay aloft long enough to reach his destination.

If he is successful, the flight will make Trappe the first person to cross the Atlantic Ocean using a cluster of balloons. The balloons used in his flight do not, like in popular hot air balloon trips, safely make use of hot air to rise. Instead, the balloons used – each with a diameter of eight feet – are filled with helium.

Trappe has admitted he was inspired by the Disney Pixar film ‘Up’, in which the protagonist moves his house from North America to South America using helium balloons. Last November, he attached hundreds of balloons to a house similar to the one in the film and managed to move high over the festival crowds.

For the transatlantic flight, Trappe is seeking a launch site in Maine and will need a team of around 50 volunteers to assist him in his endeavour.

In the crossing, Trappe will fly between 18,000 and 25,000ft above the ocean to make use of the most beneficial wind movement.

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