October 15, 2009

Hey, look over there!

There's a boy in a balloon!

&#@!!

44 comments:

edutcher said...

This sort of thing happens. Imagine one of your kids pulling such a stunt.

Thank God the kid's OK. Too many of these things turn out the other way.

WV "watern" what goes in the cistern

MrBuddwing said...

I couldn't help be slightly peeved by the newscasters who apparently didn't know the difference between a hot-air balloon and a helium balloon, and kept using both terms interchangeabley.

rhhardin said...

"It's every mother's worst nightmare: a six year old boy lost alone in a helium-powered hot air balloon over Colorado.''

Unusual dream for a mother, I thought; and flipped off the radio and went out for coffee.

It had resolved itself by the time I got home.

Apparently no adventure was actually involved, a loss for the borderline sociopathic blog for boys.

rhhardin said...

"I pitied the madman who had committed this unprecedented crime which the legislators had not predicted." - Lautreamont

Look for legislative action.

rhhardin said...

Imus predicted it bumper on Tuesday.

Synova said...

"Richard Heene acknowledged that he had yelled at Falcon. “I’m so sorry I did.”"

Of course... because the kid hiding for two hours is MUCH worse than if he'd kept playing in the thing and really WAS up in the air with it.

Bleh.

I suppose I can understand the reaction, but it's wrong.

Boy In A Balloon said...

I've been a bad boy.

Cedarford said...

The family aspires to be on Reality TV shows.

Last one the family appeared in was "Wife Swap", last year - for 2-3 episodes.

Father also runs a "science website". His current post claims a new pyramid was found on Mars.

Brother said he SAW the brother get into the balloon, then the tether broke.

Look for the police and FAA to be asking some questions...of the Reality TV show eager parents, and the eyewitness brother...

Was this an attention-getting stunt to increase their marketability? Line up for profit interviews?

If so, they should have every cent they make off of it - even if the parents were uninvolved or can claim plausible deniability - garnished.

Cost of all emergency people mobilized to "save the boy!" is well into the tens of thousands.

If you look at the small size of it on the ground saw it was already half deflated while in the air - and knew something about balloons and lift capabilities - you knew that it lifting a 70-80 lb boy was VERY improbable. Emergency people probably didn't know that when they started their wild goose chase.

rhhardin said...

Emergency people always overreact.

It's a personality disorder that attracts them to the job.

Synova said...

And if they don't over react?

Chip Ahoy said...

Aw bless. The little darlings. Boys will be boys, ya know.

It's the sort of thing my brother and I would have done given half a chance. It's how we learned -- through experimentation and adventure with anything and everything at hand. My dad used to always yell at us in exasperation, WHY DID YOU DO THAT? JUST TELL ME. WHY?" And I'm all, "How do I know."

rhhardin said...

And if they don't over react?

Traffic moves better, for one thing.

People can drive carefully around severed limbs and heads perfectly well until the police arrive and close down the whole highway for ten hours.

MadisonMan said...

I was watching it live temporarily this afternoon, but turned it off. No inclination to see a balloon crash into the ground if it might be carrying someone.

And the bimbo newsreader saying that the little boy must be scared and cold. Bilge.

Glad it resolved the way it did. Were I in charge the family would be footing the bill. Stupid to leave a mostly-inflated helium balloon all ready to rise. Should the rest of CO have to pay for one family's moronicity?

JohnAnnArbor said...

Wonder what the guy planned to do with a balloon of that size.

He'd need more lift to repeat the famous flying lawn chair incident.

Deb said...

It's every mother's worst nightmare: a six year old boy lost alone in a helium-powered hot air balloon over Colorado.''
True, this was indeed my worst nightmare when my children were small, tho I lived in Georgia at the time. It's hard to explain.

wv: hinat. What i say when I see Nat.

chickenlittle said...

The family aspires to be on Reality TV shows.

Agree with you Cedarford.
On my drive home tonight Brian Suits of KFI was playing audio of the family's appearance tonight "post-trauma."
Wolf Blitzer asked the kid: "So why'd you do it?"
The kid answers: "For the show"
Blitzer asks the father what the kid meant:
Father gets visibly upset.

I call hoax.

JohnAnnArbor said...

chickenlittle, that's been YouTubed already.

I hear the kid saying "You said we did this for the show" to his dad. What do you hear?

Cedarford said...

The more I think about it, the more this whole tale smells.

Here's a pic of the family with the UFO the father built that got loose.

http://dscriber.com/home/523-a-photo-of-the-heene-family-and-a-balloon-like-object.html

It ain't that big. Authorities say it was a 20' round, 5' deep object. If you use the basic math and note that it bevels from center to edge..you get a total gas area of PiXradius squared (10 feet) X ~3.3 feet effective depth. Or 1037 ft3.

The problem is lifting capacity of helium is 0.064 pounds per 1 ft3 of helium.

Which gives this object a lifting capacity of 66.3 lbs.

BUT the bozo who built this has to subtract the weight of the ballon material, his homemade wood and metal base which is likely 30-40 lbs...to get his payload capacity...which Richard Heene probably knows to a gram, since he built the thing.
So we are talking bout 26-36 lbs lifting capacity to hoist his 7 year-old son into thin air.
If it was fully loaded.
BUt media reports say it was only half inflated when it "just took off". (As it would be to allow gas to expand as the balloon rose several thousand feet for weather experiments.
Or, Heene should know - 13 to 18 lbs lifting capacity - maximum.

The guy Heene, who lacks a science degree, was described by his former "weather-chasing" business partner as a "video host" who looks for exciting videos of weather and stuff to sell to media outlets.

Should be fun:

FAA - "Show us your design work.
How much did your homemade balloon weigh?
Show us your payload calculations.
What amount of helium do you fill it with to avoid high-altitude rupture of the mylar? Or do you use a relief valve? And to you have a device to automatically deflate the balloon for recovery or are you hoping that some person in an adjacent state or country or ship that hauls it out of an ocean 5,000 miles away will contact you?"

peter hoh said...

Look, shiny!

JohnAnnArbor said...

Cedarford's calculations are sound. Once, when I was bored, I calculated how much helium I'd need for a personal blimp (I'm a nerd, I know) and it's quite a lot. So, there's a pretty good chance the father knew that the balloon had nowhere near the payload capacity to fly his kid across the state.

chickenlittle said...

What do you hear?

I hear exactly that: "You said we did this for the show."

Curious to hear what others hear now.

As the father of a 9 and 11 year-old myself, that dad strikes me as a liar, or at least as covering something up.
Maybe it helps that I lived in Fort Collins for several years and I know that type of person (though I do not know that family).

JohnAnnArbor said...

Remember, the kid was supposed to be hiding from punishment. Instead, if we're hearing this right, he was TOLD to hide "for the show." After admitting that on national TV, you can bet the kid will be punished now!

Cedarford said...

JohnAnnArbor said...
Wonder what the guy planned to do with a balloon of that size.

He'd need more lift to repeat the famous flying lawn chair incident.


Precisely why I know a little about balloons. As a kid in California, this guy was a personal hero. Just because...he did an Edmund Hillary..."Because it was there".

It was back in 82 or '83.

It came to him on a day off. "Why not??"

His equipment was 3 helium bottles, 80-90 surplus AF small weather balloons. His gondola was a lawnchair from his backyard. His gear was a sandwich, a six pack of beer, a pellet gun to shoot balloons to descend again. And a Kodak Instamatic "so my friends would know I actually did it and wasn't BS-ing."

His name was Larry Walters. A year or so after I got out of the service I heard he had committed suicide. Pity. In another era he might have been a Christopher Columbus or at least the woman who said "why not??" try and use her nail polish as a starting point to see if something could be applied to paint over typos.

JohnAnnArbor said...

If I remember correctly, some poor pilot approaching LAX had to report that he'd just dodged a midair lawn chair because of Larry Walters. Imagine that conversation with the tower.

Peter V. Bella said...

Would you like to fly in my beautiful balloon...?

Penny said...

"Hey, look over there!"

OK, but can you give me a minute to get this damn balloon down?

And this better be good, Althouse...

Jim said...

It's fun to do bad things!

David said...

It's pretty clear that these people, especially the chronological adults, love to be on TV. This does not mean that the whole thing was a hoax but it makes me wonder. If my kid had disappeared for several hours and I thought he was dead, I don't think I would spend the evening being interviewed by Larry King.

Beth said...

"Richard Heene acknowledged that he had yelled at Falcon. “I’m so sorry I did.”"

My partner said, on hearing he'd been found in the garage, that if it had been her, her mom would have hugged and kissed her, then spanked her till mom was too tired to keep spanking. Then she would called every adult in the family for backup. Hey, come over and help me beat this kid.

Sounds about right.

Shawn Levasseur said...

A balloon?

Huh.

When I heard something about a 'runaway gasbag' on the radio news, I thought it was someone griping about Rush's NFL bid again.

john said...

"It was for the show".

Heene's story seems to be falling apart faster than the balloon came down.

C'ford: You neglected to account for the air densty in Ft Collins, which is about 20% less than sea level. That would reduce the lifting force of the balloon proportionally.

And you, an engineer.

chickenlittle said...

C'ford: You neglected to account for the air densty in Ft Collins, which is about 20% less than sea level. That would reduce the lifting force of the balloon proportionally.

Gotta love it when nature gives a 20% boost to Cedarford's calculations.

JAL said...

Maybe I misswed it, but did someone yell

"Squirrel!!"

?

blake said...

"It's funny because a squirrel dies."

Penny said...

Oh man. That just reminded me. Was trying to pull into my driveway when I saw this BIG dead thing in the road.

It was wearing a mask. It was furry. I assumed it was a possum, because of the mask.

Could it have been...

NO! Not a bloated squirrel?

AST said...

Well, it WAS interesting until the thing landed and there was nobody in it. I was hoping for Michael Rennie, at least.

Methadras said...

fake balloon is fake.

rhhardin said...

It's the Jessica in the well tradition, for the Media.

Alas, the balloon came down before circling the earth several times and women tuned away.

bearbee said...

Boy Falcon not living up to his name

242 mph

Bissage said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
miller said...

I can understand the boy's reaction (if it was a real issue) with hiding in the garage. It sounds perfect natural.

However, doesn't it seem like parental oversight is ...um... somehow lacking? I might be old-fashioned, and I did crazy things as a kid, but my mom & dad never left the keys to the car in a place where I could get them.

bagoh20 said...

How quick and effortlessly some leap to blame, crime and conspiracy. I think it most likely to have happened just like the family said. I could be wrong, but it seems perfectly plausible that the kids were simply kids lying and hiding. That's what boys do. The kid's comment about doing it for the show has innocent possibilities. I'm sure such a family has discussed the balloon idea as a "show" possibility, like a lot of things they do, but I think this was just a mistake gone bad.

The media's over reaction is less understandable from adults.

Does anyone else notice how we seem to hate every kind of people and immediately stick them into some stereotypical bad actor narrative. Surely there are some of us out here that are just living without malice in mind.

Everybody is a rube, racist, narcissist, communist, media whore, etc. No doubt we have more such characters, than before the easy media of today, but not everyone. Those labels are more often off target than on.

Theo Boehm said...

Why so uptight about this, Professor? People use this comparison far too often, but really, you're coming off like Hitler.

chickenlittle said...

Cedarford wrote: or at least the woman who said "why not??" try and use her nail polish as a starting point to see if something could be applied to paint over typos.

Hey, I think that was Michael Nesmith's mother. She invented "White-out."