UPDATE, FRIDAY AM: That didn’t last very long. Just 12 hours into aviator Jonathan Trappe’s attempt to cross the Atlantic in a cluster balloon craft inspired by Disney/Pixar‘s Up, he was forced to land in a remote part of Newfoundland. Trappe was reportedly unharmed after a technical glitch necessitated he set down about 350 miles from the Caribou, Maine launch site. According to reports, he is making preparations to get home. On landing in Newfoundland, he wrote on his Facebook page, “Hmm, this doesn’t look like France.”
PREVIOUS, THURSDAY PM: Jonathan Trappe is no Carl Fredricksen. No, unlike the crotchety old man in Up, Trappe is a living, breathing guy — one who is attempting to cross the Atlantic Ocean in a vehicle attached to 370 brightly colored helium balloons. The 39-year-old IT manager from North Carolina embarked Thursday morning on a planned 2,500-mile solo flight from Maine to Europe. The feat has never been tried; in fact, five people who ventured to cross the ocean in conventional hot air balloons have died trying. “I’m just as afraid of dying as anyone,” he told the London Daily Mail. “But I go forward in the spirit of adventure, doing something nobody has achieved before, and to live an interesting life.” Trappe is no dilettante: He already has flown the balloon craft — a customized rubber boat — over Lake Michigan, the Alps and, two months after Up won the animated feature Oscar, the English Channel. A team of meteorologists is guiding and advising him, but winds could see him land anywhere between Iceland and Morocco. Achieving heights of more than 25,000 feet, the journey is expected to take three to five days. Just for comparison’s sake, here’s the trailer for Pete Docter and Bob Peterson’s Up:
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