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Going Up?

By Stephen Mauro 
Originally published by Aviation History magazine. Published Online: May 12, 2011 
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On March 5, cluster balloonist Jonathan Trappe and his copilot, Troy Bradley, turned fantasy into reality by re-creating the floating house from the Disney/Pixar animated film Up. Launching from the Mojave Desert east of L.A., their two-story modified house, which weighed 4,400 pounds, rode its helium balloons to an altitude of 10,500 feet before landing some 10 miles from its start point. The flight marked a world record for the largest cluster balloon flight (the system was 10 stories high) and the most balloons used in such a craft (283).

It was a unique experience for Trappe, who is no stranger to cluster ballooning (he holds cluster balloon records for longest flight—13 hours, 36 minutes—and first flight across the English Channel). "I'm standing up on the roof, and the house is flying at 10,000 feet," he said. "It is bad to fall off a roof. It is really bad to fall off a roof at 10,000 feet!" For more on Trappe's adventures, visit clusterballoon.com.



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