This afternoon, World Famous Illusionist David Blaine successfully completed his first stunt in over a decade by floating 25,000 feet over Arizona. His latest project, Ascension, has captured the imagination of fans worldwide, as the magician soared to the skies using only 52 helium filled balloons, recreating the famous image of Le Ballon Rouge.
The death defying stunt was arguably one of the most dangerous and most complex challenges we’ve seen Blaine undertake, but as always, the stunt-man pulled through, and continues to ignite a sense of awe amongst audiences over 20 years on from his first television appearance.
The stunt wasn’t without it’s complications however. After weather halted the initial plan of floating from New Jersey to New York, Blaine had to make an impromptu change, and move the project to Arizona, rescheduling the lift off date by 2 days. However, this was all but forgotten once the endurance artist began his ascension into the sky.
The project was exclusively live streamed on YouTube, and reached a staggering peak viewership of 750,000, creating an online frenzy as fans worldwide tuned in to watch the impressive challenge.
Blaine, who is widely known for previous endurance stunts such as Frozen in Time (where he was encased in a box of ice for 63 hours), Above the Below (where he was suspended above the River Thames in London for 44 days in a 3x7x7 feet box), Buried Alive (where he was entombed underground for 7 days) and Drowned Alive (where he was spent 7 days submerged in a water filled Sphere in New York City) set new records today with the global reach and interest of Ascension.
Blaine began his ascent at roughly 15:35pm BST, slowly floating up into the clear blue skies of Arizona. Once he had reached an altitude of 10,000 feet, he then began the most dangerous aspect of the stunt.
He was required to attach himself to his parachute (that wasn’t physically on his body when the stunt began), and then once he had successfully applied the parachute, he floated a further 15,00 feet before he unattached himself from the balloons and begin his descent to the ground.
Skydiving expert Luke Aikins stated before the stunt began that “the trickiest part is getting the parachute on, because if you don’t get that on, you die.” That moment in particular had the audience on the edge of their seats, as a real sense of anticipation and tension filled the air.
Nevertheless, the stunt-man used his ice-cold nerves to successfully apply the parachute and float safely back to the ground to a chorus of impressed, inspired and most importantly, relieved viewers.
The stunt itself was inspired by Blaine’s love for adrenaline filled activities and endurance challenges. This is becoming an increasingly popular trend, as people are looking for new ways to achieve those adrenaline highs that activities like Skydiving and Hot Air Balloon rides provide.
Of course, they perhaps won’t replicate the experience that Blaine had, but in terms of an injection of adrenaline and an unforgettable moment, these are still a superb way of fueling those desires!
If you’re looking to get a sense of freedom and tranquility that Blaine achieved, then make sure to check out FlyDays.co.uk. With so many adrenaline filled activities, it’s the perfect place to get a taste of what Blaine experienced.
From Hot Air Balloons, to Tandem Skydiving, it’s all available to book through available dates or our open gift vouchers at venues and locations across the UK, and you also get the benefit of a much safer experience than Blaine did (they’ll provide you with the parachute before you begin the ascent!). Head to our dedicated Flying Experiences page to book your next flying day or experience of a lifetime.
Overall Ascension was an enormous success for David Blaine; it continued to recement his place as not only the most famous illusionist and stunt man the 21st century has ever seen, but also the only man capable of capturing the attention of all ages worldwide with such an incredible idea and vision. It was 10 years since his last televised stunt and although it was an hour of anxiety-inducing viewing, it was engaging as ever having the remarkable illusionist back on our screen doing what he does best.