LONDON — In a goofy yet mesmerizing stunt, an American adventurer crossed the English Channel on Friday carried by a bundle of helium balloons, ending a quiet and serene flight by touching down in a French cabbage patch.
Jonathan Trappe, 36, of Raleigh, N.C., was strapped in a specially equipped chair below a bright cluster of balloons when he lifted off early Friday from Kent, in southeast England.
About five hours later, he lowered himself into a French field by cutting some of the balloons away.
"It was just an exceptional, quiet, peaceful experience," Trappe told Sky News television, which covered the adventure.
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Whenasked why he went, Trappe replied: "Didn't you have this dream, grabbing on to a bunch of toy balloons and floating off? I think it's something that's shared across cultures and across borders — just this wonderful fantasy of grabbing on to toy balloons and floating into open space."
However, the channel crossing wasn't a matter of just grabbing a few balloons. Trappe says on his Web site that he made a scouting trip in March and gained clearance from French and British aviation authorities and from customs and immigration offices on both sides.
His equipment list didn't stop at balloons and a chair, but included an aircraft transponder, oxygen system, aircraft radios, emergency locator beacon, in-flight satellite tracking and a radio tracker.
"He had all the correct authorization and I believe he even gave something to the owner of the land where he came down by way of damages," said a spokesman for French police.