Larry’s Flying Lawn Chair

California man has flight seat - but no plane!
Larry Walters loves flying - but hates airports. ‘Why can’t I fly direct from my house?’ he asks his friends. ‘Because you don’t have a plane,’ they say. Nor does Larry’s small suburban garden have a runway. But Larry has a plan. Preparing for takeoff One day Larry goes to a local camping shop. He buys 45 weather balloons and eight tanks of helium. When he gets home he ties the balloons to a large garden chair. Then he ties the garden-chair to his truck. With everything secure, he inflates the balloons with the helium. Larry goes back into the house. He makes a packed lunch. Then he phones two friends. ‘Come over to my house,’ he says. ‘I want you to help me launch my test flight.’ Pilot's Training? Larry’s friends arrive. They all go out into the garden. It’s a sunny day. There are no clouds in the sky. ‘Perfect conditions for a test flight,’ Larry tells his friends. The friends look at Larry’s ‘air-chair’. ‘Are you sure this will work?’ one friend asks. ‘Why not?' says Larry. ‘What could go wrong?’ Larry’s Plan ‘'I’ll float up to around to around twenty metres,’ Larry tells his friends. ‘Then I can take some photos.’ ‘How will you come down?’ Larry holds up a small air rifle. ‘I’ll use this to pop the balloons,’ he says. ‘That’ll bring the chair down into the garden.’ ‘Have you ever flown a balloon before?’ ‘No,’ Larry admits. Nor has he had any pilot’s training. ‘But I’ve driven a truck.’ Larry is only taking hand luggage on this flight. He has his lunch, a parachute, a CB radio & a camera. The CB radio is to alert other aircraft. ‘Okay,’ Larry tells his friends. ‘Cut the rope!’ To everyone’s surprise the chair flies up into the sky. It climbs 20 metres. ‘Wow!’ shouts Larry. ‘I’m flying, man!’ It rises another 200 metres. Still it keeps floating upwards. Larry’s friends watch in amazement. The garden chair is disappearing up into the clouds. Flying Chair Soon the chair is three miles above the Californian coast. Reports begin coming in to air traffic control. ‘There’s a flying chair up here! And the guy sitting in it has a gun!’ Meanwhile, Larry is floating through the clouds. He having a wonderful time. But it’s now very cold in the high altitude.

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It’s time to come down. Larry reaches for his air gun. He begins shooting the balloons. Slowly the chair descends. But Larry can’t control the descent. As it comes down, the flying lawn-chair touches power cables. This causes a power cut in Los Angeles. Why? Eventually Larry lands safely. The police are waiting for him. Vocabulary Float -move gently through air or water Lawn - area of cut grass Luggage - bags you travel with Parachute - for jumping from planes Public - people in general Suburb - area on the edge of city A news reporter asks; 'Why did you do it?' "A man can't just sit around!" says Larry. © Kieran McGovern 2012 What happened next? Understanding True or False 1. Larry hated flying 2. He had a small garden in Los Angeles. 3. He bought a garden chair in camping shop. 4. He tied the balloons to his truck 5. It was a sunny day. 6. Larry planned to take photos. 7. He took a small hand gun. 8. Larry had a pilot’s licence

9. Larry flew in high altitude 10. Larry crashed his ‘chair-plane’ Answers Vocabulary Choose a word from the glossary to answer each of these questions. 1. Area of cut grass in garden or park? 2. Area of housing around a city? 3. Move gently up or across water? 4. Bags, suitcases etc? 5. You can jump from a plane with this? 6. The general population? Answers Writing 1. You are Larry. Write your diary entry for the day you flew in your lawn chair 2. Write dialogue between a pilot and air traffic control. The pilot should try to convince air traffic control that he has seen a flying chair. Role Play (speaking & listening) A local TV news station is reporting at the scene where Larry's flying chair lands. Role play the scene in groups:
Possible roles: Larry, Larry's friends, TV interviewer, pilot, passenger in plane who saw Larry through his window, air traffic control, policeman/woman:

Five things I didn't know about: Hot Air Balloons At least one non-Internet source - try books, encyclopedias, dictionaries etc. Think about a) the longest journey b) the first c) the fastest d) alternatives to helium e) biggest balloon fiestas.. Project Design and label your own hot-air balloon. Think about the shape, size, name, colours etc Remember to include: labels of key parts * a written description * an evaluation. Comment

Learning Activities

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