Up, Up ... and Away!

Suzanne Murray

jonathan trappe cluster balloon
Photo from Cluster Balloon
It's Good News Sunday here on The Stir -- the place to come to start your week on a happy note.

A beautiful balloon ride of a different sort: American Jonathan R. Trappe, 36, a cluster balloonist (and FAA-certified pilot), strapped himself to a wicker chair strung with 55 multicolored “chloroprene cloudbuster” balloons and floated across the English Channel.

“Isn’t it everyone’s dream?” he said. “Grabbing on to toy balloons and flying off into open space?”

Trappe set the record for crossing the 22-mile strip between the UK and France. He also holds the world record for the longest free-floating balloon flight -- last month, he flew 109 miles across North Carolina.

"When you launch a balloon, part of the wonder is that you do not know where you will land." The balloons, Trappe says, “represent dreams... the uncommon, the unusual, the unlikely the impossible but true."

The sport of cluster ballooning began in 1982.

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