Inspired by the Pixar movie Up! National Geographic in 2011 decided to built a house that can really fly. With the help of only coloured helium balloons.
Using 300 helium-filled weather balloons, a team of scientists, engineers, two balloon pilots and dozens of volunteers, they managed to get the small house 10,000 feet into the air. Each of the balloons were eight-feet high and filled with a whole tank of helium.
As well as getting the house to fly, they set a world record for largest cluster balloon flight ever attempted at that time (2011).
The experiment was done as part of a new National Geographic TV series How Hard Can it Be?
The 4.8m x 4.8m x 5.5m house flew across California’s High Desert for about an hour with two people inside, just like the Disney Pixar film.
In 2012 cluster balloon pioneer Jonathan Trappe – who had previously become the first person to cluster balloon across the English Channel, and who was the pilot in the National Geographic mission – took a house to the skies once again.
At the Leon International Balloon festival in Mexico he soared under a towering cluster of helium filled balloons at 8,500 feet to prepare himself for the first ever Trans-Atlantic cluster balloon crossing. Somewhere in 2013 he hopes to make the 2500 mile crossing from Maine to Paris in a 7 foot lifeboat carried by 365 huge helium balloons..
Until then you can enjoy the in-flight video shot during the Mexico flight!