Don’t try this at home. While this may seem to be a standard disclaimer, it is perhaps especially applicable to the field of aviation, nuclear reactors and other high risk ventures. Around the world, certain unusually intrepid, some might say crazy birds have taken it upon themselves to take ingenuity and recklessness to brave new heights. In this account, we explore some of the most bizarre, and sometimes blatantly illegal or otherwise ill-fated attempts to reach the clouds from a lawnchair, set up a home nuclear station, and other grand slams in the face sensibility… or “do not try this at home.”
10. Lawnchair Larry
Being a couch potato may not get much done, but sitting back in a lawnchair while doing anything but actually relaxing may just get you some serious, if ill-advised media attention. That is, if your lawnchair is jury-rigged with balloons and thus equipped to launch skyward. American truck driver Larry Walters achieved such notoriety for drifting into the airspace of the Los Angeles International Airport and reaching altitudes of 15,000 feet in 1982. And what was Mr. Larry Walters piloting? A lawnchair, fitted with a quantity of 45 weather balloons, to create a very primitive and very scary homemade airship. The results were fearsome.