AFP
Last updated: 15 November, 2011

Lawn chair balloonists to take flight in Iraq

An American and an Iraqi will take flight from Baghdad, but not in a plane, or one of the helicopters that frequently buzz over the city: instead, they will fly in lawn chairs lifted by party balloons.

“In the spring of 2012, US citizen Kent Couch and Iraqi pilot Captain Fareed Abdul-Zahra al-Saadi will launch a cluster balloon craft to raise awareness of the plight of Iraqi orphans as well as attempt to break multiple cluster balloon flying records,” an emailed statement from Couch’s spokesman said.

“Cluster ballooning is an unique type of ballooning where the pilot is attached to a cluster of large helium-inflated party balloons.”

Couch, who owns a gas station in Oregon, has already flown hundreds of miles (kilometres) in balloon-borne lawn chairs in the United States.

The Iraq flight was initially scheduled for November 15, but it has been postponed to March 2012, “to accommodate the many organisations that have expressed desire to take part in the project,” the statement said.

The flight will take off “from the Baghdad Stadium before thousands of Iraqi youth and orphans,” it said.