• U.S.

Americana: High Chair

1 minute read

On July 2, Larry Walters, 33, a TV production company driver, donned a parachute and strapped himself into an aluminum lawn chair to which he had attached 45 helium-filled weather balloons. From a San Pedro, Calif., backyard, he drifted three miles skyward, where he was spotted by two passenger jetliners. Walters shot out ten of the balloons with a BB pistol and floated down to earth after accumulating 90 minutes of flying time. Said he: “It was something I had to do to achieve inner peace.”

Federal Aviation Administration officials did not share his peace. Last week they cited Walters for violating four sections of the Federal Aviation Act. Among them: flying an aircraft for which there is no airworthiness certificate. Complained Walters, who plans to fight the FAA’s action: “If the FAA was around when the Wright Brothers were testing their first plane at Kitty Hawk, they would have never got up.” Maybe, but air-safety officials might point out that passenger airlines were not flying in 1903. Said one: “A major catastrophe could have resulted.” Walters faces fines totaling $4,000.

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