A Child’s Dream Come True
Amazing news. I’d also say this may qualify as a piece of performance art:
It was Couch’s second flight.
In September, he got off the ground for six hours. He used a BB gun to pop the balloons, but he went into a rapid descent and eventually parachuted to safety.
This time, he was better prepared. The balloons had a new configuration, so it was easier to reach up and release a bit of helium instead of simply cutting off a balloon.
He took off at 6:06 a.m. Saturday after kissing his wife, Susan, goodbye and petting his Chihuahua, Isabella. As he made about 25 miles an hour, a three-car caravan filled with friends, family and the dog followed him from below.
Couch said he could hear cattle and children and even passed through clouds.
“It was beautiful — beautiful,” he told KTVZ-TV. He described the flight as mostly peaceful and serene, with occasional turbulence, like a hot-air balloon ride sitting down.
Couch decided to stop when he was down to a gallon of water and just eight pounds of ballast. Concerned about the rugged terrain outside La Grande, including Hells Canyon, he decided it was time to land.
He popped enough balloons to set the craft down, although he suffered rope burns. But after he jumped out, the wind grabbed his chair, with his video recorder, and the remaining balloons and swept them away. He’s hoping to get them back some day. He has a website here.
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