aluminum sears lawn chair [larry walters]

in 1982 a truck driver named larry walters strapped forty-two 7′ diameter weather balloons to his sears aluminum lawn chair and launched himself from his girlfriends backyard in san pedro, california. larry reached 16,000 feet – ended up in LAX airspace – and was spotted by a TWA pilot. The audio of some of his communication with the local cb organization (REACT) is as follows. apparently he was quite level headed despite losing his eyeglasses and his bb gun upon launch, which he had intended to use to shoot balloons one by one so that he could land.

REACT: what information do you wish me to tell them [LAX] at this time as to your location and your difficulty?
larry: ah, the difficulty is, ah, this was an unauthorized balloon launch, and uh, I know I’m in federal airpace, and, uh, i’m sure my ground crew has alerted the proper authority. but, uh, just call and tell them i’m ok. [the operator at REACT apparently thinks that larry is in a large hot air ballon and the conversation continues]:
REACT: what color is the balloon?
larry: the balloons are beige in color. i’m in a bright blue sky which would be very highly visible. over.
REACT: (balloon) size?
larry: size approximately, uh, seven feet in diameter each. And I probably have about 35 left. over.
REACT: you’re saying you have a cluster of 35 balloons??
larry: these are 35 weather balloons. not one single ballon, sir. it is 35 weather balloons.
REACT: roger, stand by this frequency.

Comments are closed.