Cluster Balloon Channel Crossing Successful
Jonathan Trappe aloft over North Carolina during his long distance record flight in April, 2010. Photo by Jim Koepnick
May 28, 2010 — Jonathan Trappe, EAA 879217, successfully crossed the English Channel in his cluster balloon Friday morning, May 28, touching down on a farm near Dunkirk, France. Trappe told the The Times, “Isn’t it everyone’s dream? Grabbing on to toy balloons and flying off into open space?” It was the first crossing of a significant body of water by a cluster balloon.
The two-hour flight departed the Kent Gliding Club at Challock Airfield (EGKE) in southeastern England. Trappe told the Times he had a "chat" with someone out for a walk as he passed over the famous White Cliffs of Dover. Trappe recently set a record for longest flight in a cluster balloon with a 109-mile flight across North Carolina.
Trappe credits the EAA and EAA Chapter 1114 for helping him obtain an Experimental designation for his balloon from the FAA. He says that without the certification, England's Civil Aviation Authority would not grant authorization to operate the balloon in European airspace. Trappe's Cluster balloon N878UP is the subject of the cover story in the June issue of EAA Sport Aviation. (See the digital issue.)
Watch video coverage from Sky News.