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back to article US, Iraqi lawn chair balloonists blown out of sky

A pair of intrepid aerial adventurers aiming to fly from Bend, Oregon, to southwestern Montana in a tandem-seated lawn chair craft buoyed by 350 five-foot balloons had their dreams deferred when their aircraft came down in a thunderstorm 30 miles from liftoff, dumped them off, then sailed away on its own, destination unknown. " …

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Coat

...inspired, do you think, by...

...the movie "Up"?

OK, OK, I'll get me coat :-D

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Re: ...inspired, do you think, by...

More like the movie up was inspired by real life nuts. Looks cute in a cartoon though.

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Anonymous Coward

Nutter!

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FAIL

Rather highly illegal

The FAA takes a very dim view of large objects at high altitudes that passenger jets can run into. Another guy did this a couple months ago and avoided jail only by strictly promising to never do it again.

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Windows

Choice of ballast???

Kool-aid??? 'Nuff said!

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Pint

Re: sad really

What would you do if you were sat in the sun, drinkung a bud, with lots of balloons and helium close to hand?

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Happy

Re: sad really

Easy.

Obviously the Bud would taste like shit, so I'd fill the balloons with it, get some mates round and see who could make the highest splat mark on the nearest wall.

Then we could play squeaky-voiced silly buggers for a bit with the helium, before going out for some real beer.

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Pint

Re: sad really

"What would you do if you were sat in the sun, drinking a bud"

Make bloody sure it was Budvar!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: sad really

Really? I think it's great. A break from the monotony; an adventure within every man's grasp.

Condemning it while shut in an office, with no sense of adventure of your own is the truly sad thing, to my mind.

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Re: sad really

Methinks asdf's head is screwed on a quarter turn too tight.

The modern motorcycle could not exist without "crazy" people sticking gasoline engines on bicycles a century ago.

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Pint

Re: sad really

Anyone drinking a Bud in Bend would either out of their mind, or from Texas - or just maybe a college student on an athletic scholarship. Bend has microbreweries that make some of the best ales around, not to mention that Oregon is also the home to Henry Weinhards - good stuff, and that not that far south (at least as westerners understand distance) is Chico, California, and the Sierra Nevada brewery which turns out very fair suds, especially when compared to Bud.

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says:

It could have been far worse.

The storm could have taken them up to a much higher altitude, pelted them with balloon busting hail and frozen and asphyxiated them before dumping them back to earth.

I remember a cautionary tale of some German glider pilots in the 1930's? who froze when caught in a storm.

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Facepalm

Too much trouble to check the weather forecast? This guy must have been a Tea Partier for sure.

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Yeah, because weather forecasts are known for their pinpoint accuracy and non-frontal thunderstorms are so easy to predict...

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Silver badge

"The landing was very intense."

Priceless!

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Thumb Up

Re: "The landing was very intense."

Best ever euphemism for a crash, I would say.

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Silver badge

The Darwin awards needs to evolve to keep up

NT

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The Darwin awards needs to evolve to keep up

You mean you want to dumb down the Darwin awards so normal stupid people can win them too?

I am shocked and appalled. You belittle the achievements of previous winners. An "intense" landing under a cloud of balloons is hardly in the same ballpark as shotgunning your own wedding tackle off.

People like you wishy washy "everyone should get a prize" and "its not the winning that counts, its the taking part!" liberals make me sick.

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Go

Oh come on

All you cynics moaning about FAA regulations and mental illness should take a step back and marvel that we still have people willing to do cool but dangerous things for fun.

Although they really should have come up with a way of quickly returning to Earth, and staying there, in the event of an unexpected thunderstorm or incoming jetliner. Keeping with the redneck theme, I would recommend a shotgun and a shedload of shells for balloon-bursting from the comfort of your chair.

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Coat

Re: Oh come on

indeed sir. I just thought we need to lighten up all over. Mines the one with the "Advanced Soaring Made Easy" in the pocket

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Stop

Re: Oh come on

"Although they really should have come up with a way of quickly returning to Earth, and staying there, in the event of an unexpected thunderstorm or incoming jetliner."

They did. If you read carefully again, the text mentions parachutes.

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TRT
Silver badge

On the other hand...

"Excuse me? Hello. Would you mind just taking this rocket motor powered plane up with you and making sure that the fuse lights properly? Thanks!"

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IT Angle

Redneck?

I can't imagine a real redneck being concerned about US-Iraqi love, the political situation in Baghdad and helping orphans. This guy is a fake.

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Alert

"The landing was very intense"

Is this a euphanism for "We splatted into the ground but luckily bounced"?

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Thumb Down

We splatted into the ground but luckily bounced

More likely "We were forced down, but luckily the ground broke our fall".

<--- To denote the general drection they were heading before being untimely interrupted by encountering solid ground.

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Silver badge

The merging of Iraqi and US flags?

I'm kind of glad they only managed what they did. I can't imagine seeing a giant symbol of the Iraqi flag having US elements added to it floating over Baghdad would do anything to reassure Iraqis their sovereignty still mattered to the West.

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Silver badge

Re: The merging of Iraqi and US flags?

Agreed. But it's Darwin Award material, isn't it?

Imagine in some unsewered Bagdhad slum, former small time thug now turned militia man Ali al-Bastad is out in the yard, cleaning his AK47, wishing the Yanks were still here to shoot at, wondering what to do between morning prayers and mid morning prayers. What to do today? What to do today? And then, in answer to his question, two loons drift into view, suspended by balloons in Uncle Sam's colours, floating invitingly above one of the most unstable, dangerous, heavily armed, lawless cities on the planet, hoping to promote peace and reconciliation.

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Re: The merging of Iraqi and US flags?

The most unstable, dangerous, heavily armed, lawless city on the planet would be Detroit.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The merging of Iraqi and US flags?

"The most unstable, dangerous, heavily armed, lawless city on the planet would be Detroit."

As a speaker at a conference I attended said, "Detroit has improved hugely, and my friend there says you wouldn't recognise it now. And he should know, because he's rear gunner on a UPS van"

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Thumb Up

Danny Deckchair

If anyones not seen "Danny Deckchair" , starring that welsh guy , I highly recommend it.

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I was at the launch. Not exactly a lawn chair, it was an aluminum frame with water tank ballast below and substantial lawn chairs on top behind railings. Balancing that sophistication were the balloons and how they were inflated or overinflated. Between 5-10 popped on their own after being filled. Since the balloons expand as they go higher in altitude and popping balloons have been a problem on his previous flights and this one, score one for amateur flight. But the worst was an appalling lack of showmanship. Everyone knows, since the Wizard of Oz, that when one embarks on such a flight one stands up and addresses the crowd with stirring words of some kind, no such words here, just a bunch of milling around by the support crew and then they took off without a word. If you want true lawn chair inspiration see Danny Deckchair!

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WTF?

Al Quaeda doesn't stand a chance now!

"This is the way to defeat terrorists"

Really? If it's that easy how come the War On tError is still going on after so many years?

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inflation

If the balloons were bursting on inflation then I'd be worried about going more than a couple of thousand feet up.

'tis better to underinflate and allow for expansion as air pressure declines, than to come hurtling down from the heavens faster than the ballast can be dumped..

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Correction

Although this subject has gone to static charge land I'd like to make a correction. The lawn chair apparatus was actually much more fragile than I described above. The problem was that here were so many ground crew around it you couldn't get a good view except as it was taking off. After reviewing the pictures we took it does indeed look very fragile. The ballast section with the lawn chair on top is made up of a few lengths of aluminum shaped into a rectangle, it hangs from a rectangle of 4 lengths of aluminum above, which hang from the balloons, there are no railings, the lawn chairs could indeed be called lawn chairs. Score two for amateur flight.

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