Why Balloonist Aborted Trans-Atlantic Flight After 12 Hours
The balloonist who lifted off in the early morning fog from Caribou on what he hoped would be a trans-Atlantic flight was forced to land in Newfoundland early Thursday evening.
Jonathan Trappe's Command Center told Aero News Network that "the cluster balloon was never able to achieve a stable float altitude and developed a severe yo-yo effect -- rapid descents with the aircraft hitting the surface of the water, followed by rapid ascents to altitudes as high as 21,000 feet or more. Trappe was unable to gain a steady hand on the errant balloon cluster, which at 3,000 cubic meters of volume was the largest in the world."
A map of the area near where Trappe landed shows him touching down in a hilly area about a mile from the Newfoundland coast where he spent the night.
The 39-year-old IT specialist from North Carolina covered 350 miles from northern Maine to Newfoundland in 12 hours.
Trappe's goal is to be the first to cross the ocean in a cluster balloon. He was being carried by over 300 multicolored helium balloons instead of a conventional hot-air balloon.