On the 6th of October 1993, Lawrence Richard Walters died in the heart of the Angeles National Forest. Walters had achieved fame as “Lawnchair Larry” after he flew in his homemade airship, the Inspiration I: a lawn chair with 45 helium-filled weather balloons attached to it. He bought the eight-foot weather balloons and helium tanks using a forged requisition from his employer, claiming that the balloons were required for a television commercial.
He strapped himself in and took a pellet gun (in order to burst the balloons for descent), a parachute, a CB radio, sandwiches and beer. He’d planned to float gently over the backyard at a height of about 9 metres (30 feet). However, when his friends cut the cord, he rose rapidly to 4,600 metres (15,000 feet). Frightened to shoot the balloons and unbalance his chair, he drifted across the primary approach corridor of Long Beach Airport. He eventually descended but got caught in a power line, which caused a local blackout. Dangling five feet above the ground, he managed to climb down into someone’s backyard.
He was immediately arrested by waiting members of the Los Angeles Police Department. When asked by a reporter why he had done it, Walters replied “a man can’t just sit around.”
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) was initially baffled by the incident. The regional safety inspector, Neal Savoy, reportedly said “We know he broke some part of the Federal Aviation Act, and as soon as we decide which part it is, some type of charge will be filed. If he had a pilot’s license, we’d suspend that. But he doesn’t.” But Walters had been catapulted, unexpectedly and unprepared, from obscurity to national fame.
He was fined $4,000 which he appealed and had reduced to $1,500. He said that it was not until ten years later, when he was featured in a Timex advertisement based on “adventurous individuals” that he broke even on the expensive stunt.
On the 6th of October 2012, the following photographs were taken bringing inspiration to the masses on Twitter:
And here are the adventurous individuals who took them:
Wouldn’t you like to join us?
It’s easy to take part!
1) Take a photo on a Saturday
2) Tweet the url for your photograph to @SatScenes
3) Watch for the next post here to see a great set of all the photographs together.
I’m looking forward to seeing your scenes!