Since seeing the film “The Red Balloon” as a kid, illusionist David Blaine has had a dream of flying through the air on balloons, according to Variety. In that movie, a group of magical balloons lifts a young boy into the sky above Paris.
On Wednesday, Blaine got his long-awaited “Red Balloon” moment.
Blaine took flight above the Page, Arizona, desert with a cluster of 52 weather balloons filled with helium strapped to him — and a parachute that he put on only after reaching 8,000 feet, according to The New York Post.
Originally, Blaine expected to reach 18,000 feet. But he ended up reaching 24,900 feet before descending back to the ground.
He partnered with YouTube to pull off the stunt, and it was exclusively streamed on the platform. During the stunt, Blaine narrated his whole experience — “I’m going to provide my point of view through the whole thing,” he told Variety.
Blaine spent a few years preparing for his “Ascension” stunt. He had to obtain a commercial balloon pilot’s license and become a certified skydiver, according to Fox News.
Initially, Blaine wanted the “Ascension” stunt to take place in New York City on Aug. 31. The weather forecast and wind conditions led him to change plans and head to Arizona. Wind is a crucial factor in ballooning and Arizona was a better-suited location.
“Arizona is one of the best locations for ballooning,” Blaine told Variety, “It allows for pretty optimal conditions.”
He still hopes to one day fly above New York City.
Blaine wanted the stunt to be colorful and inspiring for his 9-year-old daughter, who was watching from the ground. He even added a pink balloon per his daughter’s request.
After Blaine made it safely to the ground, his daughter said over the radio, “That was great! Wow! You did it! You didn’t fall!”
Blaine responded, “This was all for you, I love you,” according to The New York Post.