Trappe is a cluster balloonist par excellence. This weekend he crossed the English Channel on a chair suspended below 54 helium balloons armed only with a GPS to keep him on track and a very sharp pin to control his descent by bursting the balloons one by one.
The 36-year-old American, a qualified pilot, made Guinness World Records in April last year for his 14-hour 109-mile flight over his native North Carolina in an office chair. He liked the chair so much, he returned the seat to his office, undamaged afterwards. I wonder if it had cupholders and a place for executive toys?
The Channel flight was a walk in the park compared to that. He even had time to chat with a startled walker who'd stopped to take in the view at the White Cliffs of Dover. He reached an altitude of 3,300metres where I imagine it was a little parky, then, after popping a few of the balloons he landed at the roadside near the Frano-Belgian border. Result!
So Noel and I, keen to thumb our noses at the cheapo airlines and hedge our bets against the volcanic ash, have invested in a job lot of extra-large balloons and a couple of helium tanks to take us on our summer holidays, I'll take the orange and red balloons, he'll take the blues and greens. What a sight for sore eyes we'll be as we land on the Mer de Glace just outside Chamonix, already wearing our boots and crampons ready to trek across the glacier and arrive at the hut in time for tartiflette.
The only thing I haven't worked out is how to get home. Still, we'll cross that bridge when we come to it, eh?
Jonathan's website's here