Larry Walters: Lawn Chair Pilot © wood engraving (ed. 40) image: 7 x 5 in. $100.00 (go to "Hi There" for purchase information)
Larry Walters always wanted to fly, but never could pass the eye exam, then on a warm summer day in1982 in San Pedro, California, Larry flew! He and his girlfriend purchased a bunch of weather balloons and several tanks of helium. Larry attached the balloons to a lawn chair and tethered the lawn chair to his vehicle. He figured he would float above the yard for a while and enjoy the view. He took a CB radio to talk to the audience in the neighborhood and a pellet gun to burst balloons when it came time to descend. What Larry didn't consider was the power of the great number of balloons he was sitting beneath. When someone cut the rope he shot up so fast he was at 16,000 feet before he could react. The wind eventually pushed him into the restricted airspace of the Long Beach airport where nervous pilots reported some guy with a gun hanging below some balloons. He started popping enough balloons to get down where the air was warmer but was unable to complete his descent because he dropped his pellet gun. Eventually he landed unharmed and was arrested. Larry quit his truck driving job and took to the lecture circuit, as other stunt performers have done, but he wasn't a good enough speaker to make a living wage. Later Larry took his own life in a National Forest where he did volunteer work.

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