Lawn-Chair Balloonist Plans Flight Over Iraq

Kent Couch will lift off from Baghdad later this month
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 4, 2011 6:14 PM CDT
Lawn-Chair Balloonist Plans Flight Over Iraq
This 2008 file photo shows Kent Couch just before flying away from his gas station in Bend, Ore., to Idaho.   (AP Photo/Jeff Barnard)

If all goes well, an Oregon gas-station owner will fly over Iraq in his balloon-powered lawn chair later this month. Kent Couch boarded a flight today to the Middle East in preparation, reports the Los Angeles Times. An Iraqi man plans to go up with him on his own chair in a feat to benefit a charity for Iraqi youth. They're due to take off on Nov. 15, after making very sure the US and Iraqi militaries know all about it. (Don't count Couch out: He flew this way from Oregon to Idaho in 2008.)

"The fear is if we drift to Iran, which is only about 85 miles from Baghdad—and if we were to get a wind blowing west, we would just have to go up and come back down, because I'm not going to gamble being in Iran for very long," Couch told KTVZ. They plan to take off from the Green Zone in Baghdad and cruise along at 25,000 feet for more than 24 hours. (Couch's website is here.)

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