Up Up and away
An American daredevil has made history by crossing the English Channel using only helium-filled balloons
Jonathan Trappe, 36, is now the first cluster balloonist to cross the stretch of water.
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He set off from Kent Gliding Club in Challock, near Ashford, and took about three hours to float silently across the Channel to Dunkirk, France.
The trained pilot cut away balloons to aid his descent, eventually landing in a cabbage field.
Mr Trappe had said what had inspired him to attempt such a risky challenge. He said: “Wasn’t it everybody’s dream? I mean, didn’t you have this dream – grabbing onto a bunch of toy balloons and floating off?
“Now we’ve done it. Not only have we done it, we’ve done it over the English Channel.”
Describing his trip over the “iconic” Channel, Mr Trappe said: “Right over the white cliffs of Dover in complete silence.
“It was tremendously peaceful, tremendously beautiful… it was just an exceptionally quiet, peaceful experience.”
The stunt had several potential dangers, including a risk of drowning if he came down in water or even hitting power lines during his descent over France.
Mr Trappe said: “There are risks and we work to methodically to reduce the risks so we can have a safe and fun flight.
“Because, really, it’s only about dreams and enjoying an adventure and that’s only enjoyable when it is safe.”
In April, Mr Trappe claimed a new world record for the longest free-floating balloon flight, flying 109 miles across North Carolina.
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