Brit Flies Across Africa In Balloon-Suspended Chair Like A Real Life ‘Up’
Remember Up? Of course you do. It's that life-affirming Pixar movie in which an elderly widower called Carl turns his house into a makeshift airship by equipping it with tons of helium balloons.
It looked a bit like this. Credit: PA
Now, a British adventurer has reproduced Carl's journey for real after he flew across South Africa while sat in a camping chair suspended under 100 balloons.
Tom Morgan, a 38-year-old from Bristol, reached a maximum altitude of 8,300ft (2,529m) as he flew for two hours over 24km (15 miles).
"It was a fairly indescribable feeling, wafting across Africa on a cheap camping chair dangling from a load of balloons," said Morgan, who described the experience as 'sort of peaceful and terrifying in equal measure'.
"I came here to see if we could organise the world's most ridiculous air race and after that flight, I'm more convinced than ever that we can," he added.
That's terrifying. Credit: Richard Brandon Cox
Morgan, who runs an adventure company, made several failed attempts at achieving the flight in Botswana before he gave up and moved base to South Africa last Friday.
He and his team tried again just north of Johannesburg where they had just enough helium left to make one more - successful - attempt.
"The problem was finding a good weather window and it was difficult to protect the balloons as they kept bursting," Morgan explained.
Bit of a letdown. Credit: Richard Brandon Cox
The flight wasn't as smooth as it might sound - as Morgan's balloon chair continued to rise, so did the temperature, and he was radioed a warning that strong winds were expected to come.
In a display of testicular fortitude, Morgan had to keep his cool and hurriedly cut off the balloons, allowing him to gradually lower himself back to Earth.
Now that his balloon chair has proved to be a flying success, Morgan now hopes to set up a full-on competitive balloon race across the skies above Africa next year.
Would you race at 8300ft? Because I wouldn't. Credit: Richard Brandon Cox
This type of stuff has been worthy of a Darwin Award or two in the past, a joke award given to people who led themselves to the stupidest death.
Ridiculously dangerous as the flight may be, you have to admit that it looks spectacular when it works out. Let's hope that Morgan's Wacky Races don't lead to anyone meeting their own clown-like demise.
You can follow Morgan's adventure company The Adventurists on social media: @theadventurists
Words: Chris Ogden
Featured Image Credit: Richard Brandon Cox
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