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Helium ballons power trans-Atlantic flight attempt

A balloon cluster carrying Jonathan Trappe lifts off from Caribou, Maine (Mark McBreairty)
A balloon cluster carrying Jonathan Trappe lifts off from Caribou, Maine (Mark McBreairty)
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Updated: 9/13/2013 10:31 am
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An IT guy who doubles as a daredevil rebooted his attempt at a record-breaking flight Thursday. Oh, and his method of transportation? Something called “cluster ballooning.”

Lifted by 370 helium balloons, Jonathan Trappe took off from Maine on a 2,500-mile trans-Atlantic flight. He’ll get as high as 25,000 feet as he heads toward Europe, where he could land anywhere between Iceland and Morocco. (Via Barcroft TV)

“He confidently predicts this two-and-a-half-thousand-mile trip, if successful, will take him three to five days.” (Via ITV)

Trappe has waited 100 days for the weather to be just right. Still, The Guardian reports, he traveled through heavy fog upon launch Thursday morning.

Trappe said: “It was nail-biting waiting for a weather window that would allow me to get up into the air and catch those transatlantic winds we’d been seeing. I need to get on them and ride them across like a conveyor belt.”

Trappe is advised by the same meteorologist who helped Felix Baumgartner on his 24-mile, speed-of-sound-breaking sky dive from space last year. So it’s safe to say Trappe has the best of the best backing him. (Via YouTube / redbull)

It’s also accurate to call Trappe the world’s premier cluster-balloon aviator. He already holds the record for world’s longest cluster-balloon flight at 14 hours. He became the first to cross the English Channel in May 2010 and the Alps in September 2011.

The Telegraph points out the gravity of the situation, noting, “Five people have died trying to cross the ocean in 12 total attempts using hot-air balloons or more conventional single gas balloons.”

The 39-year-old IT manager isn’t taking his helium-powered flight lightly, though. He has it all planned out. ABC reports Trappe will pop or release balloons in response to shifts in weather.

Trappe is encouraging people to follow his flight via satellite by sharing updates on his Facebook page.

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wishmistress - 9/13/2013 1:36 PM
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Hope someone doesn't mistake him for a Bald Eagle.
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