David Blaine Floats 24,900 Feet Over the Arizona Desert Using Only 52 Helium Balloons

By Jessica Stewart on September 3, 2020

Eight years after his last public stunt, American illusionist David Blaine completed yet another stunning spectacle with The Ascension. Streamed live on YouTube, the performance saw Blaine get carried up and away by 52 helium balloons. After reaching an incredible altitude of 24,900 feet, he then parachuted back to Earth.

David Blaine - The Ascension


헬륨 풍선 만으로 7.5km 공중에 오른 미 스턴트맨

데이비드 블레인

    그의 마지막 공개 스턴트 이후 8년 만에, 미국의 환상가 데이비드 블레인은 The Ascension으로 또 하나의 놀라운 광경을 완성했다. 유튜브를 통해 생중계된 이 공연은 블레인이 52개의 헬륨 풍선에 실려가는 장면을 보여주었다. 24,900피트(약 7.5km) 의 믿을 수 없는 고도에 도달한 후, 그는 낙하산으로 지구로 돌아왔다.

이 감동적인 공연은 그의 어린 시절과 9살 된 딸 데사에게서 모두 영감을 받았다. 블레인은 어린 시절 어머니가 앨버트 라모리스의 영화 '붉은 풍선'을 보러 데려간 것을 기억한다. 이 모습이 그의 마음을 자극했다.

그러나 그의 주된 동기는 그의 마지막 공연인 '전기리피드'를 실행했을 때 막 두 살이 다 되어가는 딸을 위해 무엇인가를 해 주려는 것이었다. 이를 위해 그는 100만 볼트 이상을 방출하는 테슬라 코일에 의해 계속해서 지퍼로 잠길 것을 요구했다. 그 묘기 후에, 그는 다음에 그의 딸에게 겁을 주는 대신 영감을 줄 무언가를 공연하겠다고 맹세했다.

유투브 오리진탈스의 도움으로, 블라인은 그의 풍선 스턴트가 모양을 갖추도록 돕기 위해 전문가 팀을 구성할 수 있었다. 그는 1년 넘게 이 공연을 위해 훈련을 했고, 이 과정에서 조종사 자격증을 취득하고 상업용 풍선 조종사가 되었다. 또 제대로 된 자격증을 따기 위해 500여 차례 스카이다이브 공연을 펼쳤고 바람 패턴을 읽는 법을 배워야 했다.

황기철 콘페이퍼 에디터

Ki Chul Hwang Conpaper editor curator

via youtube

edited by kcontents

The moving performance was inspired both by his childhood and his nine-year-old daughter Dessa. As a young boy, Blaine remembers his mother taking him to see Albert Lamorisse’s film The Red Balloon, where the protagonist is carried away by a cluster of balloons. This image stuck with him, partially inspiring his love of illusion.

But his main motivation was to do something for his daughter, who was just approaching two years old when he executed his last performance, Electrified. This called for him to be continuously zapped by Tesla coils discharging over one million volts. After that stunt, he vowed to next perform something that would inspire, instead of scare, his daughter.

With the help of YouTube Originals, Blaine was able to put together a team of experts to help his balloon stunt take shape. He spent over a year training for the performance and also became a licensed pilot and licensed commercial balloon pilot in the process. In addition, he performed over 500 skydives in order to get proper certification and had to learn how to read wind patterns.

While The Ascension was originally designed to take place in Blaine's hometown of New York City, the project was moved to Arizona after taking into consideration weather and the desire to not create crowds in the city. As the world watched via live stream, Blain strapped himself to 42 eight-foot balloons and 10 smaller balloons. By dropping weight as he went along, he was able to slowly ascend.

David Blaine used helium balloons to reach an altitude of 24,900 feet over the Arizona desert.

Blaine's team originally hoped that he'd arrived at 18,000 feet—something they greatly surpassed. Though the illusionist's rehearsals had only seen him go a few hundred feet in the air, he had no trouble moving to high altitudes. While oxygen levels and cold temperatures were a concern, Blaine used breathing techniques to keep himself calm and get the oxygen he needed.

Via radio, Blaine was able to stay safe and communicate frequently with his daughter and team during the stunt. It's impossible not to watch the performance without feeling the wonder and joy that Blaine expresses as he glides over the Arizona desert.

About an hour after his initial ascent, Blaine dove back down to Earth, safely landing in a ravine before being helicoptered back to rejoin his team and his daughter. To say that The Ascension was a success is an understatement. Not only have nearly 7 million people watched the live stream in less than 24 hours, but this performance heralds a new era in Blaine's work and only has us wondering what he'll get up to next.

The Ascension was live-streamed on YouTube and viewed by nearly 7 million people in less than 24 hours.

David Blaine - The Ascension

The performance was inspired by his daughter, who was just a toddler when he executed his last public stunt.


David Blaine: Website | Facebook | Instagram | YouTube

All images via YouTube.



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