The idea was to see how many helium-filled balloons it would take to get a car to fly.
The university’s engineering students found a clunker at a salvage yard and bought it for fifty bucks and then arranged to have it towed to campus. Once there, they removed the engine, the transmission, and the seats. The goal was to make the vehicle as light as possible before attaching the balloons.
One of the students suggesting having a campus-wide “guess how many balloons” contest. They decided to charge fifty cents a guess and the person coming closest to the actual number of balloons would win the proceeds from the contest. Engineering students, though, couldn’t participate.
After selling more than 1,000 chances, the engineering students announced the big day. A huge crowd showed up on the field at the east end of campus.
One helium-filled ballon at a time, the students started attaching them to the vehicle. Ten. Twenty. Fifty. Still no lift. One hundred and nothing. Some of those attending got bored after a few hours and the size of the crowd dwindled.
Finally, after about four hours of painstakingly attaching the balloons to the hollowed-out car, liftoff was achieved. What remained of the crowd started cheering as the car lifted higher and higher off the ground and then, catching a stiff breeze coming from the west, started floating toward the small town just east of the campus.
To the surprise and delight of all those who were witness to the event, the car continued to float over the landscape, passing over the town until it reached the shore, where it continued on its airborne journey and headed out over the ocean, never to be seen again.
As to the number of balloons it took to achieve liftoff, well, let’s just say it was a lot.
Written for this week’s Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Photo Challenge prompt. Photo credit: Vincent Bourilhon.