Good for a laugh???
>You'll recall a Darwin award from not too long ago where a guy decided to
>strap a cargo plane rocket booster to his car to see how fast it would go,
>and ended up hitting a cliff several hundred feet in the air. Here's one
>This story was clipped from the recent Darwin awards, which people get for
>doing something incredibly stupid. True stories.
>Here's the winner: Larry Walters is among the relatively few who have
>actually turned their dreams into reality. His story is true, as hard as
>you may find it to believe . . .
>Larry was a truck driver, but his lifelong dream was to fly. When he
>graduated from high school, he joined the Air Force in hopes of becoming a
>pilot. Unfortunately, poor eyesight disqualified him. So when he finally
>left the service, he had to satisfy himself with watching others fly the
>fighter jets that crisscrossed the skies over his backyard. As he sat there
>in his lawn chair, he dreamed about the magic of flying.
>Then one day, Larry had an idea. He went down to the local Army-Navy
>surplus store and bought forty-five weather balloons, and several tanks of
>helium. These were not your brightly colored party balloons, these were
>heavy-duty spheres measuring more than four feet across when fully inflated.
> Back in his yard, Larry used straps to attach the balloons to his lawn
>chair, the kind you might have in your back yard. He anchored the chair to
>the bumper of his jeep, and inflated the balloons with helium. Then he
>packed a few sandwiches and drinks, and a loaded BB gun, figuring he could
>pop a few balloons when it was time to return to earth. His preparations
>complete, Larry sat in his chair and cut the anchoring cord. His plan was
>to lazily float into the sky, and eventually back to terra firma. But
>things didn't quite work out that way. When Larry cut the cord, he didn't
>float lazily up; he shot up as if fired from a cannon! Nor did he go up a
>couple hundred feet. He climbed and climbed until he finally leveled off at
>eleven thousand feet! At that height, he could hardly risk deflating any of
>the balloons, lest he unbalance the load and really experience flying. So
>he stayed up there, sailing around for fourteen hours, totally at a loss
>about how to get down.
>Eventually, Larry drifted into the approach corridor for Los Angeles
>International Airport. A Pan Am pilot radioed the tower about passing a guy
>in a lawn chair at eleven thousand feet, with a gun in his lap . . . now
>there's a conversation I would have given anything to have heard! LAX is
>right on the ocean, and you may know that at nightfall, the winds on the
>coast begin to change. So, as dusk fell, Larry began drifting out to sea.
>At that point, the Navy dispatched a helicopter to rescue him, but the
>rescue team had a hard time getting to him because the draft from their
>propeller kept pushing his home-made contraption farther and farther away.
>Eventually, they were able to hover above him and drop a rescue line, with
>which they gradually hauled him back to safety. As soon as Larry hit the
>ground, he was arrested. But as he was led away in handcuffs, a television
>reporter called out, "Sir, why'd you do it?" Larry stopped, eyed the man,
>then replied nonchalantly, "A man can't just sit around!"