Kent Couch, a 47-year old gas station owner from Bend, Oregon, had a dream. Unlike too many people, he decided not to just think about it while staying caught in the same old rut of life ... he decided to actually pursue the goal.
And what an awe-inspiring one it was!
On July 7, 2007 Couch kissed his family good-bye, and at 6:06am he took off and managed to travel an amazing 193 miles (311km) in a lawn-chair suspended by 105 large helium balloons.
The voyage lasted nine hours and included some breathtaking terrain (see the video below). His chair flight included a GPS device to keep track of his location, five gallons of water for ballast, and simple instruments to measure altitude and speed.
Couch averaged a speed of 25 miles an hour and averaged 11,000 feet in elevation.
With his family and friends following in a three-car caravan on the ground, he was in communication with someone at least 70% of the time.
Couch’s goal was to fly peacefully from Bend, Oregon to Idaho, but concerned about the rugged terrain outside La Grande, Oregon, including Hells Canyon, he thought it was best to land short of that marker.
“It was beautiful — beautiful,” he told reporters after the flight. He described it as being mostly peaceful and serene, with occasional turbulence, like a hot-air balloon ride sitting down. He could hear cattle and children and did manage to pass through some clouds.
When Mr. Couch knew it was time to land, he popped enough balloons to set the chair down, but he did get some rope burns.
Unfortunately after he jumped out the chair, which was not equipped with a seatbelt, the wind swept the remaining balloons away -- along with the chair and his video recorder.
Should you live in that area, therefore, be on the lookout for a falling lawn-chair – there is a small reward for its safe return.