Video Of The Week — British Adventurer Soars In The Skies Using Helium Balloons

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Tom Morgan flies over South Africa strapped to a lawn chair (Photo Credit: Richard Brandon Cox)

On October 20, British adventurer Tom Morgan soared over South Africa seated in a camp chair strapped to 100 helium balloons. During the two-hour flight, the balloonist covered 16 miles and reached heights of up to 8,000 feet. Though the daredevil later called the experience “unbelievably cool,” he did admit feeling “somewhere between terrified and elated” during the flight.

Morgan, the founder of the League of Adventurists, a British group whose mission is to make the world “less boring,” says the flight was initially supposed to take off from Botswana. However, after intense gusts of winds shredded the balloons three times, the team decided to attempt it from the outskirts of Johannesburg. Given that they only had enough helium left for one more try, Morgan was happy he was finally able to complete the flight without any mishaps.

Photo Credit: Richard Brandon Cox/The Adventurists)

The adventurer says though the helium flight appears similar to Carl Fredricksen’s house flight in Pixar’s “Up,” his inspiration came from an article on a 1905 gas balloon race. Morgan and his League of Adventurists now hope to add cluster balloon racing to their list of exciting events, which double as fundraisers.

Though Morgan is the first to think of introducing helium balloon-powered flights as a sport, he is not the first person to attempt the dangerous feat. US adventurer Jonathan Trappe has completed numerous such flights, including one across the English Channel. In 2010, Oregon aviator Kent Couch even took a friend along on an attached chair. A year later, National Geographic reenacted the scene from "Up" by using helium balloons to fly a small house, complete with two brave residents, across North America’s Mojave Desert.

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Reading Comprehension (10 questions)

  1. What did Tom Morgan do on October 20?
  2. How long was the flight and how high did it go?

Critical Thinking Challenge

What would scare or excite you the most about a helium balloon flight?


Vocabulary in Context

On October 20, British adventurer Tom Morgan soared over South Africa seated in a camp chair strapped to 100 helium balloons. 

In the above sentence, the word strapped most likely...

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  • kid slayer Monday, September 10, 2018 at 9:59 am
    that was really cool wish you did it with me
    • hipWednesday, September 5, 2018 at 7:30 pm
      you'd look so cool up there
      • hipWednesday, September 5, 2018 at 7:29 pm
        so cool
        • k1225430
          k1225430Tuesday, September 4, 2018 at 9:55 am
          I didn’t even think it would be possible
          • brookTuesday, August 28, 2018 at 3:15 pm
            so cool
            • AydenMonday, August 27, 2018 at 5:33 pm
              sick man I want to that
              • Owl girlSunday, July 15, 2018 at 4:57 am
                • LiLgold973Tuesday, June 19, 2018 at 5:33 am
                  i dont like hights at all
                  • LilyMonday, June 18, 2018 at 1:55 pm
                    That is awesome!
                    • spykitten
                      spykittenSunday, June 17, 2018 at 5:21 am
                      Wow! He's brave!