Yesterday it was jetpacks, but today the big news is balloons. Much like the Pixar film ‘Up’, David Blaine today reached heights of more than 23,000 feet, strapped to a bunch of helium balloons. However, unlike the film, today’s attempt has taken much more careful planning.
After the dinosaurs, the birds ruled the skies. However, in the last couple of centuries, man has increasingly looked towards the heavens. More recently, airplanes and helicopters have become the kings of the big blue, with the occasional rogue drone or jetpack to watch out for. However, today David Blaine became one with the birds and planes, attached to 52 helium-filled balloons.
So, what exactly happened?
There was much excitement in the skies above Arizona earlier. In the town of Page, David Blaine, known for his crazy stunts, prepared to prove that the sky is not the limit. Much like the film ‘Up’, Blaine used 52 helium balloons to take to the skies.
He appeared to reach heights of just under 25,000 feet before disconnecting from the balloon vehicle and descending back towards the earth. The balloons continued to climb, drifting south while being monitored by a Beech 65 aircraft.
Not the first time this has happened
Today’s attempt by Blaine was not the first time that somebody has used balloons to explore the blue skies, and no, we’re not talking about the film. In July 1982, a man named Larry Walters, or ‘Lawn Chair Larry,’ tied 45 helium balloons to a chair.
Larry’s flight lasted for around 45 minutes, reaching a height of 15,000 feet. However, Walters gained attention for all the wrong reasons. His improvised airship ended up violating the Los Angeles International Class Bravo airspace. Upon returning to earth, he was arrested by the Long Beach Police Department.
Unlike Larry’s stunt
Unlike Lawn Chair Larry, Blaine’s Stunt had all the proper permissions from the likes of the FAA. According to Yahoo News, Blaine has been training for a year and a half for today. On the way, he has needed to get both a pilot license, a commercial balloon pilot license, and a skydiving certification. You can watch the feet on YouTube (the flight starts at around 2-hours):
Rather than just strapping himself to a bunch of balloons, Blaine also had to ensure that his vehicle was suitably equipped. This included attaching an ADS-B transponder to the setup. As a result, Blaine could be tracked on FlightRadar24.com.
The trip had some Easter eggs on the popular flight tracking software. For example, his aircraft type was listed as “a bunch of helium balloons,” while the airline name was displayed as David Blaine. The vehicle showed up registered as N947DB.
According to the FAA registration database, this is an Akins Balloon built by Luke Akins. Bearing serial number 001, its certificate was issued on July 22nd, 2020, and expires on July 31st, 2023.
Did you spot the Balloon on FlightRadar24.com, or watch the flight on YouTube? Let us know in the comments!