Re: David Blaine rises to ~ 20,000 feet AGL hanging under a cluster of 52 latex balloons

James Ewen VE6SRV

I would have arm wrestled him for the chance to go up. Do you think we can find a sponsor to pay for the balloons and hydrogen? I’m not wasting money on helium. 

I’ve watched a number of jumps from hot air balloons. They say it’s a weird feeling to be starting from a stand still. Jumping from a plane, you’re jumping into a moving air mass. Even from a helicopter in a hover, there’s a lot of air moving downward in a hurry. From a balloon, you are basically at zero airspeed as you are drifting along with the wind. 

If someone said “We need a crash test dummy to drop out a balloon”, I’d have my hand up in a flash. 

There were probably a number of things that I missed on the first watch. There’s lots that I didn’t comment on in the previous email. 

There haven’t been any balloons to chase around here with this silly pandemic. I’m getting bored!


On Thu, Sep 3, 2020 at 7:41 PM Tony Rafaat <trafaat@...> wrote:
James, you should have been on his ground crew.  You certainly brought up some sensible points.

Be well.

From: "James Ewen VE6SRV" <ve6srv@...>
Sent: Thursday, 3 September, 2020 18:34:07
Subject: Re: [GPSL] David Blaine rises to ~ 20,000 feet AGL hanging under a cluster of 52 latex balloons

Which concluding part of the stunt? The helicopter ride back to the airport?

I would happily have taken his place. That would be a bucket list thing for me. If he had chickened out and I was on site, I would have told him to go hit the showers and would have grabbed on and been ready to go!

He was suffering from hypoxia just before going on oxygen. Trying to be a tough guy and making it to 20k before giving in. He was arguing saying he was fine, but he was getting giddy. As soon as he got on O2, his manner changed immediately. 

Lots of banter back and forth about what to do next, all involved should have had everything down pat. 

Dropping of sand bags from altitude is considered bombing. They should have used sandbags that could be opened and the ballast dropped. No chance of hitting something on the ground, and no need to recover the dropped ballast. 

No one could understand the difference between altitude and rate of climb. 

Upon release, it looked like he just fell in a stable arch, he should have been tracking back to the LZ. 3 miles from 25,000 feet should have been an easy return. I’ve covered a 2 mile track from 9,500. 

Asking if there are power lines by a road, and having ground support say “I can’t make any out on the image from your chest camera.” is pretty damned stupid. They should have had maps and already understood the obstructions in the area, both jumper and ground crew. The jumper has better visual than anything from a GoPro. 

Ground winds should have been understood. Anyone having flown under a steerable canopy knows how to look for ground wind tell tale signs. They also know to do a 360 before getting set up for landing to look for wind drift. 

The jumper did a poor job of choosing a landing area. He landed on some pretty rough terrain, and had to really run out the landing because he ended up in a downwind landing. 

Overall, the jump was successful, he was able to float up to altitude under a bunch of balloons. He was able to successfully *almost* miss the ground, the end goal of any skydive. 

Like just about anything you watch on TV, if you know nothing about the subject of the program, it can be entertaining and very impressive. 

When you are familiar with the subject matter however, you can usually find at least a handful of errors or problems. 

This stunt had me slapping my forehead quite often. 

One day if I’m really bored I might watch the fluff before lift off. I only watched from when they walked him from the fill area to the end. 


On Thu, Sep 3, 2020 at 4:15 PM Hank Riley via <> wrote:
I forgot about this being a live streaming event exclusively on Youtube "Originals."

It happened yesterday in Page, AZ.  He reached ~ 24,900 feet ASL before cutting loose.

Curious if any skydivers are on list and would like to comment on that concluding part of the stunt. 




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