• Donna Murray

The Man Who Flew In a Lawn Chair

Updated: May 4, 2019

Do you have a dream? I do. As a matter of fact, I have a lot of them. The problem is that a lot of people just sit around and dream and they never take action on what they truly want to do in life. They have all sorts of excuses for not acting on their dream:

  • “I can’t afford to.”

  • “I don’t have time.”

  • “I’m too young.”

  • “I’m too old.”

  • “I don’t have the skills.”

  • “I don’t know how.”

  • “I’m afraid to try.”

  • “I’ve tried and failed.”

  • “Someone told me my dream was ridiculous.”

  • “I don’t have enough confidence.”

  • “I’m too shy.”

The fact is, we can sit around all day, every day for weeks, months, years and even decades thinking up excuses as to why we can’t fulfill the dreams in our hearts. That’s not the way that I choose to live. Oh sure, things have been difficult for me at times, and even slowed me down a lot; but I’m not going to let anyone steal my dreams. Trust me, I’ve certainly had lots of people try to do exactly that! I am asked from time to time who the people I admire are – you know… people that I would consider my own personal heroes. When someone asks me that question, a lot of names come to mind, but one that really sticks out in my memory is a guy named Larry Walters. I heard about him several years ago. Never heard of Larry? Well now you’re in for a real treat. Larry is a guy who had a dream. It was a BIG dream too. Larry wanted to fly! Larry had always wanted to fly his whole life. He had been in the Air Force and wanted to get a pilot license, but his eyesight was too bad. He wanted to take flying lessons more than anything, but they wouldn’t allow him to. After Larry was released from his military service he never lost his dream. He became a truck driver, but in his leisure time he sat out in his backyard in a lawn chair and watched the planes fly overhead. The more he watched those planes, the more his burning desire to fly increased in intensity. He watched those planes and dreamed about flying for years! One day, Larry decided to do more than just dream, he decided to make his dream a reality. He began saving his money to fund his project. On July 2, 1982 Larry and his girlfriend Carol purchased 45 eight-foot weather balloons from an Army surplus sore, and some helium tanks from California Toy Time Balloons. They used a forged requisition from his employer, FilmFair Studios, and said they were using the balloons for a television commercial. Larry asked a few friends for help, and then proceeded to attach the balloons to his lawn chair, fill them with helium, put on a parachute, and strap himself into the lawn chair in the backyard. For his flight he also took a pellet gun, a CB radio, some peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and a camera. He tied the lawn chair to his Jeep. When his friends cut the cord Larry’s lawn chair rose rapidly to a height of about 15,000 feet (4,600 m). At first, he did not dare shoot any balloons, fearing that he might unbalance the load and cause himself to fall out. He slowly drifted over Long Beach, California and crossed the primary approach corridor of the Long Beach Airport.

He was in contact with REACT, a Citizen-band radio

monitoring organization, who recorded the conversation: REACT: What information do you wish me to tell [the airport] at this time as to your location and your difficulty? Larry: Ah, the difficulty is, ah, this was an unauthorized balloon launch, and, uh, I know I’m in a federal airspace, and, uh, I’m sure my ground crew has alerted the proper authority. But, uh, just call them and tell them I’m okay. After 45 minutes in the sky, he shot several balloons, and then accidentally dropped his pellet gun overboard. He descended slowly, until the balloons’ dangling cables got caught in a power line, causing a 20-minute electricity blackout in a Long Beach neighborhood. Larry was able to climb to the ground. When he was interviewed (after he was arrested for invading public airspace), and was asked why he did it, he told them simply, “A man can’t just sit around!” Sounds unbelievable right? The fact is, this is a TRUE story! Larry Walters had a dream and he took action on it! THAT TAKES COURAGE! Read more about “Lawnchair Larry” here. Larry was the pioneer of “lawnchair flights,” but his original idea has given birth to a whole new generation of “lawnchair flight” ideas. If you have children or grandchildren, I am sure you have seen the movie “UP.” A gentleman named Jonathan Trappe even took the “UP” movie idea a step further and created a real-life version of the flight. If you are someone who is looking for a way to create your dream, I may be able to help you achieve that. It takes a special kind of person. Maybe you’re that kind! I invite you to take my tour and see if you have what it takes to create your dream.



#photo #lawnchairlarry

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