Man Flies from Oregon to Idaho Using Party Balloons

Kent Couch, a 43-year-old Oregon man, flew 193 miles last weekend in a lawn-chair, strapped to a cluster of 105 helium-filled balloons. Apparently, he hit speeds of up to 25 MPH, and was able to control his altitude, rising with a system of water-filled ballasts that dumped extra weight by opening spigots, and falling by gradually releasing helium from selected balloons.

Couch's feat is impressive, but he's not the first lawn-chair flier to traverse the Western skies: In 1982, Larry Walters rose three miles over Los Angeles in an ill-controlled balloon rig. And a couple years ago, PopSci covered the flights of John Ninomiya, an avid balloon hobbyist who described his helium system in our How 2.0 section. —Megan Miller