a dude, a lawn chair, some balloons and a dream

IJ Reilly

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Jul 16, 2002
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I this man crazy or a dreamer? How about both!

I vaguely recall the Larry Walters sky chair (or a scene inspired by it) making an appearance in a movie a few years ago. I wish I could remember which one.
 

Gymnut

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Apr 18, 2003
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They did the lawn chair and balloons on one of the pilot episodes of Mythbusters but I think they kept the chair tethered...I don't think Adam got to fly anywhere - any one remember this more clearly?
Yeah Adam was tied off to prevent him from soaring off into the blue yonder. I wonder if the FAA will chase this guy down and fine him.

Edit: Imagine he must've paid a small fortune in helium just to fill all those balloons.
 

IJ Reilly

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Jul 16, 2002
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I wonder if the FAA will chase this guy down and fine him.
If he didn't violate any controlled airspace, which I doubt he did, he's got no worries from the FAA. The issue with Larry Walters was where he did the deed. Almost everything around Los Angeles above a couple thousand feet is Class A airspace, the most controlled kind. You're not allowed to enter it without clearance.
 

xsedrinam

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Oct 21, 2004
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"When you were a kid holding on to a helium balloon, it had to have crossed your mind."

Sure, but in a lawn chair? :eek: :D
 

killerrobot

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Jun 7, 2007
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That's awesome. He nailed it when he said "As a kid when you hold a balloon". I don't know how many times that's crossed my mind, even as an adult. (Yes, I always buy balloons- just to remember those good ole days) :)
 

bartelby

macrumors Core
Jun 16, 2004
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They did the lawn chair and balloons on one of the pilot episodes of Mythbusters but I think they kept the chair tethered...I don't think Adam got to fly anywhere - any one remember this more clearly?
Mythbusters used 2000 balloons and it failed to lift a small child*




*the equivalent weight.
 

Gymnut

macrumors 68000
Apr 18, 2003
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Mythbusters used 2000 balloons and it failed to lift a small child*




*the equivalent weight.
Yes but they did another episode regarding Larry Walter's flight in a lawnchair attatched to numerous weather balloons. Adam, sitting in the lawnchair, was carried up some 50 feet where his ascent was intentionally stopped with a tie off rope. He sat up there for a few minutes then proceeded to shoot a few of the balloons with a pellet gun to bring himself back down safely.

After some browsing, it was on the 3rd pilot of Mythbusters.

http://dsc.discovery.com/fansites/mythbusters/episode/00to49/episode_11.html
 

bartelby

macrumors Core
Jun 16, 2004
19,797
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Yes but they did another episode regarding Larry Walter's flight in a lawnchair attatched to numerous weather balloons. Adam, sitting in the lawnchair, was carried up some 50 feet where his ascent was intentionally stopped with a tie off rope. He sat up there for a few minutes then proceeded to shoot a few of the balloons with a pellet gun to bring himself back down safely.
Ah, weather balloons.
Cheers.
 

Gymnut

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Apr 18, 2003
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If he didn't violate any controlled airspace, which I doubt he did, he's got no worries from the FAA. The issue with Larry Walters was where he did the deed. Almost everything around Los Angeles above a couple thousand feet is Class A airspace, the most controlled kind. You're not allowed to enter it without clearance.
Ah, I guess he would have fallen into sort of the "hot air balloon" category.
 

IJ Reilly

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Jul 16, 2002
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Ah, I guess he would have fallen into sort of the "hot air balloon" category.
If the balloon needs to be certified as airworthy, it has to meet any number of performance and design standards found in the Federal Aviation Regulations. I believe (but I am not completely certain) that if the balloon is only carrying the one person that it doesn't need to be certified.

EDIT: Okay, today's obsession is the regulations governing the flying of manned free balloons. Evidently, balloons under 155 pounds and manned only by the pilot are classified as ultralight aircraft. They don't have to be certified but do need to meet certain minimum requirements.

You learn something you didn't need to know every day. ;)
 

Gymnut

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Apr 18, 2003
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Hah, suppose he had decided to fix a park bench to the balloons and take his wife with him. This does set an interesting precedence though. What's to stop multiple people from doing this other than the sheer cost and the risk of life?
 

Bern

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Nov 10, 2004
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Australia
Is there no originality left in this world? The guy was obviously inspired by the Australian film Danny Deckchair. Yes someone else has already thought of it. :rolleyes:
 

Gymnut

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Apr 18, 2003
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What is intriguing is that of the four charges the FAA brought against Larry Walters some were dropped and "it was decided that his lawn chair did not need an airworthiness certificate and Larry admitted to not establishing and maintaining two-way contact with the airport control tower". Undoubtedly the FAA would probably strongly discourage anyone from attempting this but it would seem as long as you had a light beacon fixed and an ability to contact an airport control tower, you're good to go? I have to admit there is a problem that riding such a contraption you are basically at the mercy of the wind and have no means of taking evasive action other than popping some of the balloons and descending.
 

IJ Reilly

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Jul 16, 2002
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What is intriguing is that of the four charges the FAA brought against Larry Walters some were dropped and "it was decided that his lawn chair did not need an airworthiness certificate and Larry admitted to not establishing and maintaining two-way contact with the airport control tower". Undoubtedly the FAA would probably strongly discourage anyone from attempting this but it would seem as long as you had a light beacon fixed and an ability to contact an airport control tower, you're good to go? I have to admit there is a problem that riding such a contraption you are basically at the mercy of the wind and have no means of taking evasive action other than popping some of the balloons and descending.
Maybe... some controlled airspace also requires aircraft to operate a Mode C transponder, which relies on a certified pitot static system to report altitude accurately. All of the Los Angeles area airspace does, though the rule can be waived by ATC on a request basis. Where this isn't required, I suppose he could wear a beacon beanie and carry a handheld transceiver and be legal. Good luck getting clearance where required, though. As for being at the mercy of the wind, I suppose that's a inherent characteristic of free ballooning.

A correction: Los Angeles is Class B airspace, not Class A. I'm sure everybody noticed my error but were just being too polite to mention it. :)