Kent Couch, Lawn Chair Balloonist, Prepares Tandem Flight With Iraqi Fareed Lafta
BEND, Ore. - An Oregon gas station owner is preparing to fly aboard a pair of lawn chairs suspended from helium-filled party balloons across Oregon and Idaho and into Montana with an Iraqi adventurer by his side.
Kent Couch plans to lift off from his Shell station in Bend, Ore., Saturday morning with Fareed Lafta, who contacted Couch after reading of his earlier exploits.
Volunteers will fill 350 5-foot-diameter balloons with helium and tie them to Couch's homemade tandem lawn chair rig. It includes 800 pounds of ballast – red Kool-Aid in 40-gallon barrels. Besides a GPS, satellite phone, and parachutes, they will carry a Red Ryder BB rifle to shoot out enough balloons to come to earth when the time is right...