In 1982, a lunatic with a dream tied a bunch of weather balloons to an el cheapo Sears lawn chair and flew into history and big trouble with the FAA. In an experiment that had more than a whiff of beer about it, Larry Walters made it to 15,000 feet and square into the airspace of Long Beach Airport before shooting himself down and winding up in some power lines and the national news.
Today, with GPS, corporate sponsorship, and a parachute, an otherwise sane-appearing Oregonian named Kent Couch made it 230 miles and across the Idaho border using a highly refined flying lawnchair. He got applause. Larry Walters, with no parachute, or even a seatbelt, got a $1500 fine.