We can only imagine the disappointment skydiver Michel Fournier must have felt watching his helium balloon take off without him, a la Dorothy in the “Wizard of Oz.” Today, Fournier was going to attempt a record setting skydiving leap from 130,000 feet (40,000 meters), about three times higher than commercial airplanes fly. But the helium balloon he was going to use to soar to the stratosphere detached from the capsule that would have carried him heavenward. Reportedly, the balloon cost at least $200,000 USD and Fournier, 64, was said to have already exhausted his finances. The former paratrooper had planned to make the attempt Monday, but had to postpone his plans because of weather conditions. What a bummer.
The balloon was inflated on the ground at the airport in North Battleford, Saskatchewan. The balloon detached and drifted away into the sky without the capsule.
Fournier appeared disappointed as he left the capsule and walked to the hanger.
Attempts in 2002 and 2003 ended when wind gusts shredded his balloon before it even became airborne.
Fournier’s jump would have broken the record for the fastest and longest free fall, the highest parachute jump and the highest balloon flight. He also hoped to bring back data that will help astronauts and others survive in the highest of altitudes.
An army of technicians, data crunchers, balloon and weather specialists arrived recently in North Battleford, a city of 14,000 near the Saskatchewan-Alberta line, for the attempt.
Fournier had planned to make the jump in his native France, but the government denied him permission because it believed the project was too dangerous. He then came to North Battleford, an agricultural and transportation hub northwest of Saskatoon.
Original News Source: PhysOrg