US man prepares tandem lawn chair balloon launch

This July 5, 2008 file photo shows Kent Couch lifting off from his gas station in Bend, Ore., riding a lawn chair rigged with more than 150 giant party balloons for a flight that ended 235 miles away in an Idaho farm field. AP

BEND, Oregon: A U.S. gas station owner is preparing to fly a pair of lawn chairs suspended from helium-filled party balloons with an Iraqi adventurer by his side.

Kent Couch plans to lift off from his Shell station in Bend, Oregon, Saturday morning with Fareed Lafta, who contacted Couch after reading of his earlier exploits.

Volunteers will fill 350 five-foot party balloons with helium and tie them to the specially constructed tandem lawn chair rig.

The two men hope to fly through the night across Idaho and touch down Sunday morning somewhere in southwestern Montana.

Couch's longest flight was in 2008, when he covered 235 miles solo and reached Idaho.

This flight is a warm-up for plans to fly a tandem lawn chair balloon rig in Baghdad sometime in the future.





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