No, I am not politically correct. He will always be Eric the Midget. Anyway, someone is setting a precedent. See Eric? It's safe!!!
'Up' adventurer plans flight across Atlantic with 365 balloons
A cluster-balloonist who became the first person to fly the English Channel is taking on the challenge of a lifetime by attempting to cross the entire Atlantic Ocean using 365 helium balloons.
11:10AM GMT 08 Nov 2012
Jonathan Trappe, 38, plans to fly 2,500 miles across the pond next summer in a seven-foot lifeboat carried by the balloons.
Mr Trappe has harnessed the huge public interest in his previous adventures to launch a $300,000 appeal to crowd-fund online the expensive helium and special UV resistant balloons he will need for his record-breaking flight. He has already invested $170,000 into the mission.
The Atlantic crossing has presented a challenge to balloonists for decades. Five others have died attempting it, and none have achieved the crossing attached to cluster balloons.
In 2010, Mr Trappe made global headlines when he flew from England to Belgium dangling from scores of helium balloons - just like the Disney character Carl Fredricksen from the film "Up".
The balloonist, from Raleigh, North Carolina, is learning to sail a lifeboat, in case he needs to ditch into the ocean during the mission.
Seatbelts 'are pointless', says Ryanair boss 07 Nov 2012
Aircraft hits car while coming into land 06 Nov 2012
The unique gondola will have an open roof for take-off but a canopy to protect its pilot from high-altitude winds and frostbite during the crossing.
If something goes wrong, Mr Trappe will change out of his UV protection suit into a cold water suit, pop enough balloons to bring the gondola close to the water, and attempt to land in the ocean.
Mr Trappe will float at between 18,000ft and 25,000ft, beating his previous world altitude record of 21,600ft. Previously the furthest distance he had flown uninterrupted was a world record 230 miles. To achieve the crossing, he must fly ten times that.
Mr Trappe plans to set off from Maine, USA, and set a course for Paris, France. He will be at the mercy of the elements, however, and could have to land anywhere from Norway to North Africa, or be forced to abort and ditch into the ocean.
Four meteorologists are to work around the clock from a command centre in Wyoming, US, to help make sure Mr Trappe arrives safely.
"Weather is the most important element of the whole crossing," he said.
Mr Trappe will wear an oxygen mask at the highest altitudes, and will be equipped with sandbags as ballast. "I'll be equipped with more food and water than I need so I can discard them too," he said.
The adventurer, who holds records for crossing the Alps, flying the most cluster balloons, and the longest distance, has spent his entire career building up to the momentous expedition.
"I didn't wake up one day and think: 'I'm going to fly across the Atlantic,' he said. "Every attempt before this was geared towards this flight. I've been training for a long time."
He wanted to make the attempt "so one day we can look back and say: 'Humankind were able to pull this off. They did it.'"
Those interested can donate or sponsor Trappe at http://www.indiegogo.com/upacrosstheatlantic