Lawn Chair Man

When you can’t just sit around...

Larry Walters was your average blue collar worker - he drove a big truck, 5 1/2 days a week.
On Saturday afternoons (he lived in Los Angeles), he would get home around lunch time,
walk into his house, open his refrigerator, take out his 6-pack (of Pepsi), then make his
peanut butter sandwiches. He would take them outside and sit in his chaise lounge chair.
As he would sit there (he had a large 6-8 foot fence all around his little yard) in his
little piece of green grass, he wondered what his neighbours were doing - what they were
thinking about, what they looked like. In the suburbs of Los Angeles, the climate was so close,
and yet, despite the closeness, there was no knowing of each other.

After doing this for about 6 months - every Saturday afternoon - he said he wanted to meet
his neighbours, and he came up with an ingenious idea: on a particular Saturday afternoon when he
came home, he brought 45 hot air weather balloons... he tied them to his lawn chair... he got his
6-pack, his sandwiches and his 22 rifle, and he sat there and he had his friends... the idea was that
he would float up about 100 feet and meet his neighbours! He thought he would float up, hover about the
area and meet everyone in the suburbs of Los Angeles. When they cast off the sandbags, he went up to
100 feet but he didn’t stop - he was so frightened that he couldn’t even grab the rifle...
he was truly a white-knuckle flyer! He didn’t stop at 50 feet... he didn’t stop at 1,000 feet...
he leveled out at 11,000 feet - a guy in his lawn chair at 11,000 feet!

Larry Walters in his Lawn Chair and Hot Air Weather Balloons

The first person who saw him was the captain of a Delta Airlines - Walter had flown into the direct
landing path of LAX Airport! They said that when the guy landed the airplane: “Captain to tower -
we’ve got a man in his lawn chair at 11,000 feet...” When he landed, they wanted to take
the captain in for immediate debriefing - they wanted to send him to the funny farm!

They sent up a police helicopter and they were able to save Larry Walter’s life and bring him down.
Only as news reporters can do, they took the microphone and shoved it in Larry’s mouth, asking him
if he was scared... he said, “Yes.” Then they asked him, “Do you ever plan to
do this again?” at which Larry said, “No.” And the third question was,
“Why did you do it in the first place?” to which he answered,
“There comes a time when you can’t just sit around...”

see also   Air,  Dubm  &  Safety  Sections
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Lawn Chair Drill Team
Lawn Chair Pilot
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