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Sunday, July 15, 2012

Lawn Chair Pilots Videos - Cluster ballooning is a form of ballooning where a harness attaches a balloonist to a cluster of helium-inflated rubber balloons

Watch all of the YouTube Videos in my Playlist or Pick and Choose Below and see a few more on other Sites too...

Don's Favorite Air Craft 2 Playlist

Playlist by Don's DonSongs & Living Beings

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Up Up And Away In My Beautiful Balloon

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Oregon Man Kent Couch, Uses Balloons and a Lawn Chair to Fly

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Kent Couch 2008 Cluster Balloon Flight. The Chair Design.

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Crazy Lawn Chair Balloon Flight!

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Raw Video: Lawn Chair Balloon Flight Attempted

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Kent Couch Balloon Flight from FATHOM on Vimeo.

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Up, up and away: man uses party balloons to fly 200 miles

Petrol station owner from Oregon makes flight in chair attached to 150 giant balloons

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Lawn chair balloon flight forced to land early in Oregon

By Phil Gast, CNN
updated 4:49 PM EDT, Sun July 15, 2012
  • Two flyers are "rattled" but unharmed
  • Lawn chair balloon flight takes off from Bend, Oregon
  • Two men had hoped to reach northwestern Montana
  • They had to end flight after balloons burst and wind and storms rolled in

(CNN) -- Variable wind, thunderstorms and the loss of 35 helium-filled balloons within a few hours of liftoff put an end to the flight of two lawn-chair-seated adventurers who never got out of Oregon.

Kent Couch and Fareed Lafta, who had hoped to reach northwest Montana by Sunday, landed late Saturday afternoon southeast of Prineville, Oregon, team officials said.

iReport: Watch the balloon adventure lift off

The men were disappointed but not injured, flight spokesman Mark Knowles told CNN.

"They're a little rattled," said Knowles. "We are glad that they are safe. Kent is very disappointed they did not get what he set out for."

Couch and Lafta, seated side-by-side in a specially built rig, went aloft at Couch's service station in Bend, Oregon.

But within a few hours, about 35 of the large 350 helium-filled balloons had burst, said Knowles. That compared to the loss of six balloons lost in a previous Couch flight to Idaho.

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Lawn-chair balloonists go for records

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Jonathan Trappe Crossing The English Channel Flying A Cluster Balloon

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The Real Life Up - Disney's animated hit comes to life as 300 Balloons lift up house

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[HQ] Up! in real life

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Ballooning: History of Balloons pt1-2 1944 US Navy (14:44 minutes)

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Ballooning: History of Balloons pt2-2 1944 US Navy (11:49 minutes)

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Lawrence Richard Walters, nicknamed "Lawnchair Larry" or the "Lawn Chair Pilot"

Larry Walters - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Larry Walters

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Larry Walters
Born April 19, 1949
Los Angeles, California
Died October 6, 1993 (aged 44)
Angeles National Forest
Other names Lawnchair Larry
Known for Flying a lawn chair with weather balloons

Lawrence Richard Walters, nicknamed "Lawnchair Larry" or the "Lawn Chair Pilot", (April 19, 1949 – October 6, 1993) was an American truck driver[1] who took flight on July 2, 1982, in a homemade airship. Dubbed Inspiration I, the "flying machine" consisted of an ordinary patio chair with 45 helium-filled weather balloons attached to it. Walters rose to an altitude of over 15,000 feet (4,600 m) and floated from his point of origin in San Pedro, California, into controlled airspace near Los Angeles International Airport. His flight was widely reported in many newspapers.


Balloon flight

Origin of his plan

Walters had always dreamed of flying, but was unable to become a pilot in the United States Air Force because of his poor eyesight. Walters had first thought of using weather balloons to fly at age 13 and 14, after seeing them hanging from the ceiling of a military surplus store. Twenty years later he decided to do so. His intention was to attach a few helium-filled weather balloons to his lawnchair, cut the anchor, and then float above his backyard at a height of about 30 feet (9.1 m) for several hours. He planned to use a pellet gun to burst balloons to float gently to the ground.

Preparation and launch

In mid-1982, Walters and his girlfriend, Carol Van Deusen, purchased 45 eight-foot weather balloons and obtained helium tanks from California Toy Time Balloons. They used a forged requisition from his employer, FilmFair Studios, saying the balloons were for a television commercial. Walters attached the balloons to his lawn chair, filled them with helium, put on a parachute, and strapped himself into the chair in the backyard of a home at 1633 W. 7th St. in San Pedro.[2] He took his pellet gun, a CB radio, sandwiches, cold beer, and a camera. When his friends cut the cord that tied his lawn chair to his Jeep, Walters' lawn chair rose rapidly to a height of about 15,000 feet (4,600 m). At first, he did not dare shoot any balloons, fearing that he might unbalance the load and cause himself to spill out. He slowly drifted over Long Beach and crossed the primary approach corridor of Long Beach Airport.

He was in contact with REACT, a CB monitoring organization, who recorded their conversation:

REACT: What information do you wish me to tell [the airport] at this time as to your location and your difficulty?
Larry: Ah, the difficulty is, ah, this was an unauthorized balloon launch, and, uh, I know I'm in a federal airspace, and, uh, I'm sure my ground crew has alerted the proper authority. But, uh, just call them and tell them I'm okay.

After 45 minutes in the sky, he shot several balloons, and then accidentally dropped his pellet gun overboard. He descended slowly, until the balloons' dangling cables got caught in a power line, causing a 20-minute blackout in a Long Beach neighborhood. Walters was able to climb to the ground.

Arrest and notoriety

He was immediately arrested by waiting members of the Long Beach Police Department; when asked by a reporter why he had done it, Walters replied, "A man can't just sit around."

Regional safety inspector Neal Savoy was reported to have said, "We know he broke some part of the Federal Aviation Act, and as soon as we decide which part it is, some type of charge will be filed. If he had a pilot's license, we'd suspend that. But he doesn't." Walters initially was fined US$4,000 for violations under U. S. Federal Aviation Regulations, including operating an aircraft within an airport traffic area "without establishing and maintaining two-way communications with the control tower." Walters appealed, and the fine was reduced to US$1,500.[3] A charge of operating a "civil aircraft for which there is not currently in effect an airworthiness certificate" was dropped, as it was not applicable to this class of aircraft. Walters commented, "If the FAA was around when the Wright Brothers were testing their aircraft, they would never have been able to make their first flight at Kitty Hawk."

Walters received the top prize from the Bonehead Club of Dallas for his adventure, as well as invitations from The Tonight Show and Late Night with David Letterman.

Walters' flight was replicated (though tethered) on one of the pilot episodes of the TV show MythBusters, in which Adam Savage was lifted to a height just under 30 m (100 ft) and gradually reduced his altitude by shooting balloons with a pellet gun.

Later years

The lawnchair used in the flight was given to an admiring boy named Jerry, though Walters later regretted doing so, since the Smithsonian Institute asked him to donate it to its museum. Twenty years later, Jerry, by then an adult, sent an e-mail to Mark Barry, a pilot who had documented Walters' story and dedicated a Web site to it, and identified himself. The chair was still sitting in his garage, attached to some of the original tethers and water jugs used as ballast.[4]

Walters said, "It was something I had to do. I had this dream for twenty years, and if I hadn't done it, I think I would have ended up in the funny farm. I didn't think that by fulfilling my goal in life — my dream — that I would create such a stir and make people laugh."

After his flight, he was in brief demand as a motivational speaker and he quit his job as a truck driver. He was featured in a Timex print ad in the early '90s,[5] but he never made much money from his fame. Later in his life, Walters hiked the San Gabriel Mountains and did volunteer work for the United States Forest Service. He later broke up with his girlfriend of 15 years and could only find work sporadically as a security guard.

He committed suicide in 1993 at the age of 44 by shooting himself in the heart in Angeles National Forest.[6]

In popular culture


  • The musical "Flight of the Lawnchair Man" is about a fictional balloon pilot, but was inspired by Walters' flight and the flights of other balloon pilots.
  • The Man in the Flying Lawn Chair, an ensemble piece created and directed by Eric Nightengale, was produced at the 78th Street Theatre Lab in New York City in the summer and fall of 2008.[7] In 2009 the production was presented at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. The piece was part of 78th Street Theatre Lab's series "From Page to Stage," which has been "developed in the tradition of the living newspaper, where theatrical inspiration is drawn from people and events pulled from the front pages."
  • The flight and Walters' inability to settle back into normal existence inspired Up (The Man in the Flying Lawn Chair), Bridget Carpenter's 2002 play that traced the discordant aftermath of fictional Walter Griffin's lawn chair adventure.[8] In the summer of 2009 Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre presented a six-week run of the play.
  • One scene in Robert Fulghum's All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten tells of Larry Walters' flight, but from the more inspirational angle of everything is still possible.


  • MythBusters put Larry Walters' flight to the test in "MythBusters Pilot 3: Larry’s Lawn Chair Balloon, Poppy-Seed Drug Test, Goldfinger" Mar 7, 2003. It was "CONFIRMED," although it had already been confirmed previously by the FAA [2]
  • Larry Walters' flight was referred to in the third season of the Fox Comedy Arrested Development, when George Bluth, Sr., inspired by a television program about Walters, attempts to use a deck chair rigged with hydrogen balloons to escape from house arrest.
  • The flight was parodied in the SpongeBob SquarePants episode "The Sponge Who Could Fly".
  • An episode of the 1980s television show The A-Team featured a prison escape scene in which Murdock ties trash bags to a lawn chair and inflates them with hot air from hair dryers, allowing him to float out of the prison yard.
  • An episode of Malcolm in the Middle ends with older brother Reese floating away from home on a balloon-lifted lawn chair. As he rises away, younger brother Dewey calls out, "I'll miss you, at first!"
  • In an episode of King of the Hill, Bill, Dale, and Boomhauer construct a flying lawn chair. The takeoff is botched, however, and Bill ends up in a Mexican neighborhood, hanging from a tree, and is set upon by Mexican children who hit him with sticks joking that he is a piñata.
  • In the teaser to an episode of Hill Street Blues someone is attempting to take off in a balloon-suspended lawn chair, but is ordered to stop by Lt. Buntz. When the chair pilot (sarcastically addressed by Buntz as "Captain Kirk") refuses and the balloon starts to rise, Buntz shoots it with his department-issued weapon, causing the pilot to drop to the ground.
  • An episode of Men in Trees included a lawn-chair flight, aired on March 3, 2008.
  • In an episode of Urban Legends Larry Walters' flight is shown as one of three "possibly true" legends. His is the true story.
  • In an HD title screen gag in The Simpsons, Homer flies in a lawn chair full of balloons with a bottle of Duff.


  • Pixar's "UP" revolves around an elderly man's use of helium balloons to move his entire house.
  • The story of Walters also inspired the 2003 Australian romantic comedy Danny Deckchair.
  • Trailers for the 1985 comedy film, Real Genius, featured Val Kilmer levitating in a lawn chair supported by helium balloons. The scene did not appear in the released film.


  • Larry's flight is described in Neil Halstead's song "Hi-Lo and in Between" on his solo album "Sleeping on Roads."
  • Larry's feat and later suicide inspired the Candyskins song Death of a Minor TV celebrity from their 1998 album of the same name.
  • Channel 3, a California hardcore punk band, have a song about Larry Walters.
  • The San Diego band Pinback describes the flight in the song "Walters" from their 2007 album "Autumn of the Seraphs".
  • The Lucksmiths "Up" on their album "A Good Kind of Nervous" is about Walters' flight.
  • The 2000 Eggbo album, Flight of an Urban Legend, contains a song entitled "Larry Walters" as well as cover art that suggests Walters' flight.
  • The 2004 Walken EP, Current Melbourne Temperature, contains a song entitled "Blue Sky" with a film clip inspired by the story of Larry Walters.

Other media

  • Walters' flight inspired a satirical narrative thread in Berke Breathed's Bloom County comic strip, where the wheelchair user Cutter John and Opus the Penguin ride across the ocean on a wheelchair lifted by helium balloons.
  • There is also an Easter egg in SimCity 4 that shows a man in a lawn chair attached to balloons, floating across the city, a reference to Larry Walters.[original research?]
  • The "L-4 Society" card in the Illuminati card game by Steve Jackson Games features an astronaut orbiting the Earth in a lawnchair suspended by helium balloons. This is both a spoof of Walters' legendary flight and of the L5 Society.
  • The final segment of the musical 3hree is called Flight of the Lawn-chair Man and is based on Larry's story.
  • On June 6, 2006, Howard Stern wack packer Eric "the Midget" Lynch agreed to sit in a lawn chair while he was lifted up by balloons. Stern mentions the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson as inspiring the idea, although it may also be inspired by Larry's flight. (On the next day, Lynch backed out due to new bits being played about him which he found insulting.)
  • Poet Marie Bader published a poem about Walters, titled "Ballooning". The poem also appeared in the October 2001 issue of Mobius.
  • Dutch Palestinian poet Ramsey Nasr published a poem 'Lawn chair Larry' as part of his participation to 'Een stad van letters' ('A City of Letters') during Antwerp Book Capital 2004. A podcast version of Ramsey Nasr reading and performing his highly parlando poem is available [9]


Kent Couch, a 47-year-old gas station owner from Bend, Oregon, reportedly flew 240 miles (390 km) in his lawn chair on Saturday, July 7, 2007, landing in a field about 3½ miles NNW of North Powder, Oregon, about 30 miles (48 km) from the Idaho border.[3] Traveling an average of 22 mph, Couch used plastic bags filled with 75 litres (20 gallons) of water as ballast against the 105 large helium balloons tied to his lawn chair. Like Walters, Couch also had a BB gun on hand to shoot the balloons in order to initiate descent on his first attempt. During his flight he developed a way to release helium out of the balloons allowing for a more controlled descent.[3][10] On July 5, 2008, Couch finally realized his goal of interstate travel when he landed his lawnchair safely in western Idaho. The trip totaled 240 miles (390 km) and took 9 hours and 12 minutes.[11][12]

On January 13, 2008, the Brazilian Roman Catholic priest Adelir Antonio de Carli lifted off from Ampere, Brazil, suspended under 600 brightly colored helium-filled party balloons, and reached an altitude of 5,300 m (17,390 ft) before landing safely in Argentina.[13] On April 20, 2008, lifting off from Paranagua, Brazil, in an attempt to fly 725 km (450 mi) inland to Dourados, Brazil, he flew using a chair suspended under 1,000 party balloons, reaching an altitude of 20,000 feet (6,096 m). He did not check the weather forecast and got caught in a storm. He had a GPS but did not know how to operate it. He was last heard on the radio eight hours after liftoff approaching the water after flying off the coast, unable to give his position, and crashed in the Atlantic Ocean; his body was found by the Brazilian Navy near an offshore oil platform on July 4, 2008. The act won him a 2008 Darwin Award.

See also

  • Cluster ballooning, the modern, more careful approach to Larry's original goal.
  • Other intrepid balloonists:
    • Adelir Antonio de Carli (aka Padre Baloneiro), Brazilian priest, human-rights defender, lost in the Atlantic Ocean in Brazilian waters during his second cluster balloon flight on April 20, 2008.
    • Bartolomeu de Gusmão, a priest and naturalist born in the Portuguese colony of Brazil, recalled for his first balloon flight in Lisbon in 1720 (the balloon burned).
    • Matias Perez, Portuguese entrepreneur who also attempted balloon flight from Havana (Cuba) on June 28, 1856, and got lost while on it.
    • Yoshikazu Suzuki, a Japanese balloonist also lost in the ocean.
  • Danny Deckchair, a 2004 Australian comedy film inspired by the story of "Lawnchair Larry" (Larry Walters).


External links

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Kent Couch

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Kent Couch is an American cluster balloonist who drew international interest for his flights across the state of Oregon.


Cluster balloon flights

First flight

Kent's first flight was in September 2006. The flight was cut short and Kent used his parachute to land safely on the ground below. The flight preparation and ground crew was filmed and edited by Sky Pinnick of Rage Films in Bend, Oregon. While this unsuccessful landing may discourage some, it sent Kent back to the drawing board to try again.

Second flight

Couch, a 48-year-old gas station owner, first flew 193 miles (311 km) in July 2007 riding a lawnchair elevated by 105 large helium balloons. Using amateur instruments to measure altitude and speed, a GPS device to track his location, and 5 gallons (19 litres) of water for ballast, he controlled his ascent by releasing water. The flight began in Bend, Oregon and ended in Union, short of Couch's goal of reaching Idaho.

Couch's flight resembled a flight by Larry Walters, who, in 1982, sat in a lawnchair that unexpectedly rose 3 miles (5 km) off the ground after he cut the rope tethering his lawnchair to the ground.[1]

Third flight

Couch began another flight at dawn on Saturday, July 5, 2008. That afternoon he successfully crossed the desert border, landing near Cambridge, Idaho.[2][3][4]


Launch Time: 6:44 am (PDT)
Top Speed: 49 mph (79 km/h)
Average Speed: 26 mph (42 km/h)
Highest Altitude Reached: 16,625 feet (unofficial world record)
Touch Down: 3:56 pm (PDT)
Total Time: 9 hours 12min
Total Miles: 240

See also


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Cluster ballooning

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Cluster ballooning

Cluster ballooning is a form of ballooning where a harness attaches a balloonist to a cluster of helium-inflated rubber balloons.

Unlike traditional hot-air balloons, where a single large balloon is equipped with vents enabling altitude control, cluster balloons are multiple, small, readily available and individually sealed balloons. To control flight, arrest a climb or initiate a descent, the pilot incrementally jettisons or deflates balloons. Ballast, e.g., bottled water, can also be jettisoned to facilitate ascent.


Famous balloonists

Larry Walters, without any prior ballooning experience, attached 42 helium-filled weather balloons to a lawn chair and lifted off — in 1982. In defending against charges later filed against him by the FAA, he stated that he intended to rise just a few hundred feet (about 100 metres), but underestimated helium's lifting power causing his tethering strap to break prematurely. Walters quickly rose to nearly 3 miles (5 km), over 50 times his intended maximum altitude. Walters reportedly had planned to control his altitude by using a pellet gun to selectively pop some of the balloons. However, he was initially hesitant to shoot any balloons, as he was concerned about falling out due to a loss of stability. Reaching a high altitude and seeing no other way of getting down, he eventually shot several of the balloons, initiating his descent.

John Ninomiya's flights have been featured on The Science Channel, The History Channel, TechTV, TLC, and MTV.

The Guinness Book of World Records recognizes the highest altitude attained via cluster ballooning to be that achieved by Mike Howard (UK) and Steve Davis (USA), who on August 4 2001, over Los Lunas, NM, USA, used 400 helium balloons to reach a height of over 18,300 feet (5,600 m). Larry Walters is estimated to have reached 16,000 feet (4,900 m) in 1982. His record is not recognized, however, because he did not carry a proper altimeter.[1]

Yoshikazu Suzuki departed from Lake Biwa in Japan on 23 November 1992 with helium balloons. He was spotted by a Japanese coast guard aeroplane on 25 November 1992, located about 800 km offshore over the Pacific Ocean, at altitude between 2,500 and 4,000 m, and was never seen again.

In April 2008, in Brazil, Roman Catholic priest Adelir Antonio de Carli ascended with 1000 balloons. Ground observers lost track of him when he floated out above the ocean, and he was missing until his body was found by an offshore oil rig support vessel on 5 July 2008. Carli at one point reached an altitude of 6,000 metres (19,685 ft) before losing contact with authorities; his altitude may have indeed been the record for cluster ballooning, but it cost him his life.

Just two months later, in June 2008, FAA licensed pilot Jonathan R. Trappe attached a cluster of balloons to his standard, unmodified office chair and flew it to an altitude of 14,783 feet. The flight reportedly lasted four hours and covered 50 miles before Trappe returned to earth, retired the chair, and returned it back to his workplace.[2]

On May 28, 2010, SkyNews reported on Jonathan Trappe's crossing of the English Channel by cluster balloon. Trappe departed near Challock, England, crossed over the White Cliffs of Dover at St. Margarets Bay, and made landfall again over Dunkirk, France. Trappe then tracked inland, and landed safely in a farmer's cabbage patch in France.[3].

Other applications

Smaller balloon clusters consisting of several toy balloons are sometimes used for creating flying light effects by using them as a carrier for lightsticks or other small light sources. They can be also used for other amateur scientific experiments, such as making aerial photographs or atmospheric measurements.

Such toy balloons, with or without helium filling, are more readily available than bigger balloons.

See also


  1. ^ , Up, Up, and Away!
  2. ^, Chairway to Heaven
  3. ^ Balloon Daredevil Floats Over English Channel ,

External links

Lawn Chair Balloon Flight

Raw Video: Lawn Chair Balloon Flight Attempted - YouTube
lawn_chair_balloonist - YouTube
lawn chair balloon flight - Google Search
Weather stops lawn chair balloon flight -
Larry Walters - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
lawn chair balloon flight - Google Search
Lawn Chair Balloon Flight - Google Search
1982 At-Risk Survivor: Lawn Chair Larry
Up (2009 film) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Kent Couch - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
"Lawn Chair Pilot"
Lawnchair Larry, the man who soared to 16,000 Feet attached to weather balloons-Truth!
Larry Walters Search Results
Crazy Lawn Chair Balloon Flight! - YouTube
Video: Man uses party balloons to fly 200 miles | World news |
Kent Couch flys to Idaho with some balloons, a garden chair and a 'big dream' - Telegraph
lawn chair balloon flight kent couch - Google Search
Kent Couch 2008 Cluster Balloon Flight. The Chair Design. - YouTube
lawn chair balloon flight 200 miles kent couch - Google Search
Up Up And Away In My Beautiful Balloon - YouTube
Lawn chair balloon flight forced to land early in Oregon -
Ore. Man Uses Balloons and a Lawn Chair to Fly - YouTube
Cluster ballooning - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
'Owling' Video Trend Hits YouTube, Mimics 'Planking' Videos | Video - ABC News
Balloon Lawn Chair Legend Takes Flight Again | Video - ABC News
lawn chair balloon flight 200 miles kent couch - Google Search
Fireworks Cause Injurys Across The Country And A Man ... - YouTube
lawn chair balloon 200 miles kent couch - Google Search
balloon flight 200 miles kent couch - Google Search
2009 Flight - Kent Couch coaches John Freis on his Cluster Balloon Flight
Kent Couch Balloon Flight on Vimeo
lawn chair balloon flight record - Google Search
Don's Favorite Air Craft 2 - YouTube
Lawn-chair balloonists go for records - YouTube
Ballooning: History of Balloons pt1-2 1944 US Navy - YouTube
lawn chair balloon flight record Pg 2 - Google Search
High Altitude Balloon Space Balloon 256220ft!!! World record! all 26.10.2010 - YouTube
Ballooning: History of Balloons pt2-2 1944 US Navy - YouTube
The Real Life Up - Disney's animated hit comes to life as 300 Balloons lift up house - YouTube
[HQ] Up! in real life - YouTube
Jonathan Trappe Crossing The English Channel Flying A Cluster Balloon - YouTube

Don's Favorite Air Craft Videos Playlist

 Various Air Craft Videos, Playlist by Don's DonSongs & Living Beings

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