Summary: Today, we will look at the next four Beatitudes which describe what a Christian should do, we’ll call them “The Do-Attitudes.”
The Jesus Code: Part 2
Sunday, September 21, 2008
Pastor Kelly Dufour
Text: Matthew 5:7-12
Headline: Man soars three miles above Los Angeles in a lawn chair "aircraft"
The incredible flight of Larry Walters, a 33-year-old Vietnam veteran and North Hollywood truck driver with no pilot or balloon training, took place on July 2, 1982. Larry filled 45 weather balloons with helium and tethered them in four tiers to an aluminum lawn chair he purchased at Sears for $110, loading his makeshift aircraft (dubbed the "Inspiration I") with a large bottle of soda, milk jugs full of water for ballast, a pellet gun, a portable CB radio, an altimeter, and a camera.
(Show Picture) Donning a parachute, Larry climbed into his chair from the roof of his girlfriend’s home in San Pedro while two friends stood at the ready to untether the craft. He took off a little earlier than expected, however, when his mooring line was cut by the roof’s sharp edges. As friends, neighbors, reporters and cameramen looked on, Larry Walters rocketed into the sky above San Pedro. A few minutes later Larry radioed the ground that he was sailing across Los Angeles Harbor towards Long Beach.
Walters had planned to fly 300 miles into the Mojave Desert, but the balloons took him up faster than expected and the wind didn’t cooperate, and Walters quickly found himself drifting 16,000 feet above Long Beach. (He later reported that he was "so amazed by the view" that he "didn’t even take one picture.") As Larry and his lawnchair drifted into the approach path to Long Beach Municipal Airport, perplexed pilots from two passing Delta and TWA airliners alerted air traffic controllers about what appeared to be an unprotected man floating through the sky in a chair.
Meanwhile, Larry, feeling cold and dizzy in the thin air three miles above the ground, shot several of his balloons with the pellet gun to bring himself back down to earth. He attempted to aim his descent at a large expanse of grass of a north Long Beach country club, but Larry came up short and ended up entangling his tethers in a set of high-voltage power lines in Long Beach about ten miles from his liftoff site. The plastic tethers protected Walters from electrocution as he dangled above the ground until firemen and utility crews could cut the power to the lines (blacking out a portion of Long Beach for twenty minutes). Larry managed to maneuver his chair over a wall, step out, and cut the chair free.
Larry, who had just set a new altitude record for a flight with gas-filled clustered balloons became an instant celebrity, but the Federal Aviation Administration was not amused. Unable to revoke Walters’ pilot’s license because he didn’t have one, an FAA official announced that they would charge Walters "as soon as we figure out which part of the FAA code he violated."
"It was something I had to do. I had this dream for twenty years, and if I hadn’t done it, I think I would have ended up in the funny farm. I didn’t think that by fulfilling my goal in life — my dream — that I would create such a stir and make people laugh."