Lawn Chair Balloon Duo Set to Take Flight
(NEW YORK) -- An Oregon gas station owner and his Iraqi co-pilot will take off Saturday in two lawn chairs tethered to 350 balloons.
Kent Couch and Fareed Lafta will lift off from Couch’s Shell station in Bend, Ore., at 10 a.m. PST. The daredevil pair say they hope to clear at least 400 miles, which would mean a landing somewhere near southwestern Montana Sunday morning.
Eight hundred pounds of ballast, red Kool-Aid in barrels, will be on board with the men. They’ll also be equipped with a GPS, a satellite phone and parachutes.
When it comes time to land, Couch and Lafta will use a Red Ryder BB rifle to shoot out enough balloons to help them have a smooth landing.
The pair also plans to embark on another flight together in the fall, this time in Iraq.
The lawn chair balloonists are using the flight as an opportunity to raise awareness for Iraqi orphans, Couch said on his website.
In 2008, Couch gained national attention when he floated 235 miles from Oregon to Idaho in a solo flight.
He described the appeal of floating through the sky on a lawn chair to ABC News’ Diane Sawyer in 2007.
“It was serene, just like you’re on top of a cloud laying there,” Couch said. “It was just like being on ice, nice and smooth.”
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