July 08, 2008
Leavin' on a balloon-powered lawn chair

Gotta love people like this.

Riding a green lawn chair supported by a rainbow array of more than 150 helium-filled party balloons, Kent Couch succeeded Saturday in his third bid to fly from central Oregon all the way to Idaho.

Couch kissed his wife and kids goodbye, and patted their shivering Chihuahua, Isabella, before his ground crew gave him a push so he could clear surrounding light poles and a coffee cart.

Then, clutching a big mug of coffee, Couch rose out of the parking lot of his gas station into the bright blue morning sky, cheered by a crowd of spectators.

"If I had the time and money and people, I'd do this every weekend," Couch said before getting into the chair. "Things just look different from up there. You've moving so slowly. The best thing is the peace, the serenity.

"You can hear a dog bark at 15,000 feet."

Said his wife, Susan: "He's crazy. It's never been a dull moment since I married him."

Couch, 48, rode the prevailing wind to the area of McCall, Idaho, about 230 miles east, and traveled at about 20 mph.


Couch was inspired by a TV show about the 1982 lawn chair flight over Los Angeles by truck driver Larry Walters, who gained folk hero fame but was fined $1,500 for violating air traffic rules.

I hope Couch's life story has a happier ending than Larry Walters' did.

Couch, a veteran of hang gliding and sky diving, estimated the rig cost about $6,000, mostly for helium. Costs were defrayed by corporate sponsors.

Well so much for this being an alternative to the airlines. How's the zeppelin business doing these days?

Posted by Charles Kuffner on July 08, 2008 to Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

...and don't forget the Brazilian priest:


Posted by: Christof Spieler on July 8, 2008 6:17 AM

The most dangerous thing about this is is the hot coffee. Who puts a mug of hot coffee in their lap while flying in a lawnchair of ballons?

Posted by: Jenny, bloggess on July 8, 2008 7:57 AM
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