The Adrenalist

Powered By Degree Men

Suspended Over the Alps on Helium



Jonathan Trappe is a cluster balloonist. There’s nothing cute about what he does.

In April 2008, priest/adventurer Adelir Antonio de Carli took to the skies above Brazil strapped into a chair tied to 1,000 helium balloons. Carli reached a world record altitude of 19,685 feet before disappearing over the Atlantic Ocean. Months later, a boat crew discovered his waist and legs floating near an offshore oil rig.

An FAA licensed pilot from North Carolina, Trappe wasn’t deterred by Padre Baloneiro’s tragedy. In May 2010, the 38-year-old became the first cluster balloonist to cross the English Channel when he touched down in a French cabbage patch.

Last week, he took his dangerous passion to the next level, crossing the French Alps with the help of 54 colorful, helium-filled balloons. At about the midpoint of the 12-hour journey, he feared he was on course for a deadly collision with 12,600 foot tall Monte Viso mountain.

“In the end I sailed right past it without a problem,” Trappe told The Daily Mail. It “was just exhilarating.”

Read more at Daily News.

Add Your Voice To The Conversation: