Man flies above N.C. in balloon chair

April 13, 2010 at 4:00 PM

SANFORD, N.C., April 13 (UPI) -- A North Carolina man traveled about 50 miles across the state during his trip in a chair attached to about 40 helium balloons.

Jonathan Trappe, a member of the Wings of Carolina Flying Club in Sanford, departed Saturday afternoon from the Sanford-Lee County airport in the specialized cluster balloon chair as part of an event for the club, the Raleigh (N.C.) News & Observer reported Tuesday.

WRAL-TV, Raleigh, said Trappe, who reached a top altitude of 7,000 feet, landed shortly after 7 a.m. Sunday in Fremont, N.C.

"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 complied with Federal Aviation Administration rules during his flight by bringing along two-way aircraft radios, an altitude encoding transponder that caused his craft to appear on radar, a GPS device, an emergency locator beacon and other safety equipment.

The Wings of Carolina Flying Club said Trappe is planning a cluster balloon flight above the English Channel during the summer months.

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