Lawn Chair, Helium Balloons, Travel and Insurance
Here's one way I won't be travelling anytime soon: Ken Couch got into a lawn chair attached to 105 helium-filled balloons, and took off for Idaho. While he didn't make it, he did travel 310 kilometers from home before he touched down on the earth again.
This has to be every kid's dream. What one of us hasn't dreamed of floating up into the air hanging onto a helium balloon? I am just a little envious, in fact: the trip Couch said, "It was beautiful -- beautiful."
Apparently, this was Couch's second lawn chair and helium balloon adventure. The first time, he flew for 6 hours. That time, he used a BB gun to break balloons in order to bring him back to the ground -- but had to use a parachute to rescue himself from a too-rapid descent. On this trip, he still had the parachute, but he also had ballast in the form of water and a better configuration that allowed him to release helium without popping balloons. The parachute went unused this time.
The likely answer, of course, is no. I wonder if any insurance company would have covered this stunt. Couch did still manage to hurt himself on this current trip, although it was only rope burns. However, he lost his unusual aircraft after he jumped out, which means that he also lost his video recording of his trip.
We'll see if there is a third trip.
Monique L. Attinger