These Are the 10 Most Dangerous Attempts to Fly

  • August 07, 2017
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Dan Boria (2015)

Walters influenced many people to recreate his balloon adventure, but few achieved the same level of notoriety as Dan Boria. In a promotional stunt for his cleaning business he tied one-hundred helium balloons to a chair. Intending to fly over a near-by rodeo he found himself off-track and rising much faster than planned. He ultimately had to parachute to safety and was fined thousands of dollars.


Abbas ibn Firnas (852)

Medieval attempts at flight often involved tower jumping, or leaping from the tops of high buildings. Firnas’ example isn’t exactly unique: he constructed wings of silk and covered himself in feathers (it was commonly speculated that feathers were largely responsible for flight). Rather than become street pizza, his wings served as an almost-parachute, slowing his fall just enough to injure his back. Why didn’t it work? At the time it was marked up to a lack of a tail at the time.


Yuan Huangtou (559)

Chinese emperor Wenxuan forced several prisoners to be tied to kjtes and flown. This killed all but one, Yuan Huangtou, who was able to fly a great distance before safely landing. This is considered by many to be the first successful human flight. Despite this achievement Huangtou was still executed.


Elmer of Malmesbury (1125)

Very little of this monk’s history survives outside of his attempt to fly. Believing the story of Daedalus to be real, he fashioned wings for his arms and legs and threw himself from the top of an abbey. He glided six-hundred feet before crashing and breaking both of his legs, leaving him injured for life. By his own account his failure was due to, once again, a lack of a tail.


Lagâri Hasan Çelebi (1633)

Looking to get in good with the sultan, this Ottoman built a seven-winged rocket. Before launching himself with about one-hundred and forty pounds of gunpowder (!) he said, “I am going to talk to Jesus!” Rather than exploding on the spot (which would have sped up the meeting with Jesus, we imagine) he crashed into the sea shortly after the launch. He survived uninjured.


James Miller (1993)

In what would prove to be the first of many similar stunts, James Miller used a home-made paraglider to circle Ceasar's Palace during the heavyweight boxing match between Evander Holyfield II and Riddick Bowe. After about ten minutes he descended into arena but botched the landing, finding himself tangled in the ropes. This cased a twenty minute delay in the match. Fans and security staff attacked Miller shortly after freeing him. The strange moment fueled future stunts and made Miller a minor celebrity until his suicide in 2002. By all accounts he did such flights simply for the fun of it.