Cluster balloon pilot Jonathan Trappe landed short of his goal on Thursday when he maneuvered his unique lighter-than-aircraft to a safe landing in a remote area on the western coast of Newfoundland during the last hours of daylight. “Hmm, this doesn’t look like France,” he posted to his Facebook page. Shortly after, he posted: “Landed safe, at an alternate location. Remote. I put the exposure canopy up on the boat. Will stay here for the night.” According to Barcroft Media, Trappe experienced “technical difficulties” that forced him to “abandon his quest.”
The landing site, as shown by Trappe’s online tracker, is about a mile from the coast, and nearly 5 miles from the nearest road. It’s not yet clear if the balloon system is still intact or how Trappe will be recovered by his team. His gondola for the flight is a sturdy sailboat/lifeboat built in Maine, called a Portland Pudgy, and Trappe is well equipped with food and survival gear. From start to finish, his flight covered about 600 miles and lasted about 12 hours. Trappe had spent about two years designing the system and training for the attempt.