Ballooning ambition can go far

By Chongqing Business Daily Source:Global Times Published: 2012-7-12 23:45:03

Sun Jian gets ready to take off assisted by two friends in Chongqing. Photo: CFP
Sun Jian gets ready to take off assisted by two friends in Chongqing. Photo: CFP

A house flies in sky lifted by many balloons. This scene is recognizable to many from the Pixar movie Up. But four young men in Chongqing turned it into reality, as one of them got airborne with a dozen hydrogen balloons and flew 42 kilometers maxing out at about 1,000 meters in altitude, Chongqing Business Daily reported Wednesday.

Instead of strictly copying the movie scene, they decided to make a man fly across the Jialing River, which flows through Chongqing.

They bought the balloons and a hammock and designed a triangular rack to hang balloons. To save money, they chose hydrogen, instead of helium, which is much safer but more expensive, to fill the balloons. The overall cost was less than 5,000 yuan ($770). They measured the weight of the body and the equipment, wind speed and direction, as well as gas buoyancy to ensure they had the best chance of success.

After a week-long preparation, the flight began at 9:55 am on April 22 by the Jialing River. Because of the heavy dew on the balloons, Sun Jian, weighing 50 kilograms, had to replace 70-kilogram Liu Weihan and took off wearing a life jackets and helmet, besides shoes, a T-shirt, and underwear. He also brought a cell phone, a video camera and a knife to cut the ropes. After 11 balloons took him up, the dew dried up and the balloons took off straight up, instead of across the river. After soaring to a kilometer in height, Sun became scared when his cell phone lost its signal. He then cut the ropes of three of the balloons and landed safely in a tree, after a 30-minute thrill ride.

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