What would happen
if you tied 42 weather balloons
to a lawn chair and launched it?
This strange but true ballon story has been widely disbelieved by skeptics, but it really happened.
Rich Buhler was hosting a radio talk show from Los Angeles in 1982 when
Larry Walters' historic flight took place in from nearby San Pedro and he
covered the story for his audience. It was widely reported by the news media
at the time and Larry Walters became something of a folk hero for his
daredevil solo flight.
According to published reports, Walters was employed as a truck driver in
Southern California. On July 2, 1982, he fastened 42 surplus balloons to a
lawn chair and launched from his girlfriend's San Pedro home. He carried
various supplies with him as well as a CB radio and a BB gun to shoot
balloons one at a time to descend. He didn't realize how powerful the
buoyancy of the balloons was. When he cut a rope holding him to terra firma,
he took off with such a jolt that another anchor rope broke under the stress
and he shot upward so quickly that his eyeglasses flew to the ground. He
floated around the L.A. basin for several hours and reached altitudes of up
to 16,000 feet. According to an article in the New York Times the next day,
Walters was spotted by pilots from both TWA and Delta Airlines. It was cold
at 16,000 feet and he started shooting some of his balloons to descend, but
dropped his BB gun and had to wait for his rig to come down on its own. He
landed in a residential neighborhood in Long Beach where got tangled in some
power lines, causing a power blackout. He told reporters that his weather
balloon flight had been a dream of more than 20 years.
Music " Up Up Up and Away"