High airfares got you down?
Date: Fri, 31 Jul 92 22:01:45 PDT
Subject: High airfares got you down?
(UPI) LONG BEACH, Calif. -- Look, up in the sky. Is it a bird, a plane,
the space shuttle? No. It's Larry Walters at 16,000 feet in his lawnchair.
Walters, 33, a truck driver, spent nearly two hours in the air Friday
in an aluminum lawn chair suspended from a 50-foot cable attached to 45
helium-filled weather balloons.
Among other things, he threw a scare into a couple of airline pilots
who happened across the path of his weird flying contraption.
``I know it sounds strange but it's true,'' said a Long Beach police
officer. ``The guy just filled up some balloons with helium,strapped on a
parachute, grabbed a BB gun and took off.''
But everything didn't go as planned and Walters had a few dicey moments
as he started getting numb in the cold atmosphere at 16,000 feet and decided
to descend -- which he accomplished by popping some of the balloons with the
BB gun. As he neared the ground he saw power lines.
``That's when I got scared,'' he said. ``Those things can fry you.''
He didn't get fried, the balloons draped themselves across the wires,
leaving Walters dangling in his chair a few feet off the ground and he
dropped to earth. The landing knocked out power in the neighborhood for 20
``I have fulfilled my 20-year dream,'' said Walters, a truckdriver for
a company that makes TV commercials. ``I'm staying on the ground. I proved
to myself that the thing works.''
In addition to the BB gun and the parachute, Walter carried several
one-gallon water jugs for ballast, a life vest and a CB radio.
``But the best piece of equipment was the lawn chair,'' Walters said.
``It was a Sears. It was extremely comfortable.''
Walters told authorities he was trying to drift to the Mojave Desert,
site of Sunday's scheduled space shuttle Columbia landing, but the winds
``I wasn't trying to upstage the space shuttle,'' Walters said. ``I
would have landed well away from there. I just wanted to lay back and enjoy it
all, but I had to do something when my toes started getting numb.''
Police said they probably would not file charges against Walters. But
the Federal Aviation Administration was investigating, mainly because of the
scare Walters gave the airline pilots who came across him at 16,000 feet in
his flying lawn chair.
© 1992 Peter Langston