Bill Heaner looks to jump out of, then land back in, a hot-air
Bill Heaner is an extremist, but in a good way. Weather permitting,
on march 19th of this year
(2010) he plans on jumping out of balloon with his paraglider hanging
below, then land back in the same balloon a few minutes later.
He's been practicing with the balloon tethered a few feet in the air
and acknowledges it won't be easy. Nor is it a given and there are some
bad things that could happen. It will require extreme precision control
of energy since there is a very narrow energy state that will work.
He'll have to dive at the balloon then swing up to it so his body gets
to the gondola just after the wing hits the balloon's envelope. It's
much like a power-off spot landing and stop where the goal is swooping
in, up just a bit then plunking down in one place. But his task is
harder in that he needs to hit the gondola in the steepest part of the
climb, and must get a pretty steep climb, in order to pull it off.
anyone can do it, Bill Heaner can! He's an expert kiter who is featured
in parts of Master Powered Paragliding's advanced ground handling video.
If the dates work out, I'm hoping to go out and help video tape from the
air. After they've aired the footage, I'll use some of it in video 4 on
landing. But the primary purpose of getting the footage is in support of
TV program they hope to be a part of.
A number of very experienced
paraglider pilots are participating and it promises to be an exciting,
albeit risky, undertaking. I love precision flying and a good challenge
but this one is way beyond me.
Right now they plan on doing it on
March 19, 2010. A production company has taken on the
project and put together a short video describing the stunt and showing
some of the practice. Too bad since I'm working and won't be able to
This is the basic plan:
1. Bill, balloon and balloon pilot climb up in
balloon to 7000' AGL.
2. Bill drapes paraglider out balloon, jumps and
flies a minimum descent profile.
3. Balloon pilot vents hot air to descend below
gliding Bill then matches descent rate so that the balloon is descending
about half the rate as Bill.
4. Bill flies toward balloon, timing a dive and climb
to end up in the gondola, clinging to a stout netting that has been
draped around for easy grabbing.