If you thought you saw a person dangling from a couple dozen helium balloons over Page, AZ on September 2, 2020, it was no illusion. It was world-famous Illusionist David Blaine pulling off perhaps his most ambitious feat yet.
“This is actually crazy,” Blaine said shortly after lift off. “I am going to have the most amazing views ever on these balloons.”
“This is actually crazy. I am going to have the most amazing views ever on these balloons.David Blaine, Illusionist
The balloons lifted him slowly at first. As he dropped small weights, his rate of ascension increased.
When he was a couple thousand feet off the ground, he looked out over the landscape below him and exclaimed with a youthful tone, “Wow! Wow! That is amazing! It is so beautiful!”
Cameras mounted on the balloon rig showed spectacular panoramic views of Lake Powell, the Colorado River and dozens of shadowy slot canyons.
Blaine floated to a peak altitude of 24,900 feet before sky diving back to the ground. In order to adjust for less than half the amount of oxygen that he had on the ground, Blaine employed special breathing techniques. As he approached the 20,000-foot-level Blaine sucked oxygen from a scuba-like device.
Altitudes above 18,000 feet are considered Class A airspace. The upper limit for most helicopters is 17,000 feet. Blaine’s team obtained permission from the FAA before embarking on the challenge.
A member of his ground crew quizzed Blaine with complex questions to make sure his decision-making abilities weren’t affected by the altitude.
For his descent, Blaine free fell for about 14,000 feet then deployed a parachute at around 7,000 feet altitude and landed safely on the ground in a section of desert dotted with scrub brush.
Video: David Blaine dangles from helium balloons above Arizona desert
Blaine was wired with radio, and multiple cameras were strategically arranged to relay the experience to his ground crew and viewers.
“I feel great! I feel great!” was how Blaine responded when asked by one of the team member how he felt as he rose more than two miles high.
He seemed to squelch any fear that arose with nervous laughter. Blaine’s voice crackled with emotion as commended his ground crew.
“You couldn’t have done a better job, across the board,” he said. “This is the most secure and confident I’ve ever felt on anything I’ve ever done in my life. So, thank you guys.”
Upon landing in a remote expanse of desert, Blaine was picked up by a helicopter.
“Wow! How high did I go?”
After boarding the chopper, his first words were “Wow! How high did I go?”
Where is Page, AZ?
Page, Arizona is a small town in the northern part of the state close to the Arizona – Utah border. It’s popular spot for tourists traveling to see Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe Bend and Lake Powell among other sites. Click the image map below to see where it is on the map.