Man aims to cross the Atlantic using helium balloons

A cluster-balloonist who became the first person to fly the English Channel is attempting to cross the entire Atlantic Ocean using 365 helium balloons. Jonathan Trappe, 38, plans to fly 2,500 miles across the pond next summer in a seven-foot lifeboat carried by the balloons.

Mr Trappe has launched an appeal to fund the $300,000 (£186,000) needed for expensive helium and special UV resistant balloons he will need for his record-breaking flight. He has already invested $170,000 (£106,000) into the mission.

The Atlantic crossing has presented a challenge to balloonists for decades. Five others have died attempting it, and none have achieved the crossing attached to cluster balloons.

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In 2010, Mr Trappe flew from England to Belgium dangling from scores of helium balloons. The balloonist, from Raleigh, North Carolina, is learning to sail a lifeboat, in case he needs to ditch into the ocean during the mission.