Sunday, May 22, 2005

Extreme Ballooning

For any of you who ever held a cluster of helium balloons and wondered if you could lift off into the air if you only had enough of them, John Ninomiya has the answer – yes, you can. John flies in a harness on which are attached clusters of giant helium-filled balloons. Releasing ballast – usually jugs of water – causes the cluster to rise. Descent requires slicing balloons open with a knife (John carries several with him on each flight).The rest is up to the wind.

John is a licensed hot-air balloonist who took up flying cluster balloons five years ago. Describing his hobby as a cross “between an extreme sport and a personal eccentricity,” John is one of only a handful of cluster balloonists in the world. He is currently engaged in “States of Enlightenment,” a multi-year project in which John will make at least one cluster balloon flight in each of the 50 states.

Last July, John attempted a cluster flight at the Wausau Balloon Festival as part of the Wisconsin leg of his U.S. balloon tour. The morning flight was cancelled due to inclement weather, but things cleared up later in the day to make a late afternoon flight, and a little bit of history, possible.

Clicking on the images, below, will enlarge each image.

1 comment:

Geraldo Mirsky said...

I read an interesting article on it I would like to share with you...