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June 19, 1980 - Image 3

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1980-06-19

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The Michigan Daily-Thursday, June 19, 1980-Page 3
Local Scene {

Ann Arbor
man claims
world record
for ballooning

An Ann Arbor man said yesterday he
"feels pretty good" after keeping his
hot air balloon aloft more than 24 hours,
setting what appears to be an inter-
national ballooning record.
Bruce Comstock, 36, and co-pilot
David Shaffer, 32, of Chelsea, took off
Monday night in Battle Creek and lan-
ded 24 hours and eight minutes later in
a field in Novi.
BECAUSE OF THE neceftary
paperwork involved, it may be three
months before the international hot air
ballooning organization recognizes the
local balloonists' feat. But Comstock
said, "We know that no one has ever
flown a hot air balloon this long before."
The previous hot air balloon record
was set by a Minnesota-and former
Ann Arbor-man, Ed Chapman, earlier
this year. Chapman stayed in the air 19
hours and 12 minutes.
Comstock's 80-foot high 4,275-pound
balloon was launched from a small air-
strip in Battle Creek drifted southward
over Indiana, then looped northward
over the Indiana-Ohio border before
landing in Novi. -
the U.S. Hot Air Balloon National
Championships, a competition based on
precision, explained that a balloonist
steers his vehicle by shifting its
"You pick the altitude and you go
wherever the wind is going at that
altitude," he said.
The 35-year-old computer system
analyst said while other long-distance

balloons are powered by gas or helium,
his was powered by hot air. The
balloon, which was built and partially
designed by Comstock and Shaffer,
derived most of its heat from the sun,
which was drawn by the black color of
the balloon.
"WE WANTED to demonstrate the
feasibility of solar balloons," he said.
Comstock explained that 23 propane
tanks, used to create the hot air, were
hung from not only the balloon, but also
the 40-inch by 50-inch basket. During
the day, he said, the balloon stayed
afloat mainly by the heat of the sun, but
at night, the balloon consumed most of
the fuel.
The emptied tanks were parachuted
down after being used, and six assistan-
ts,including Comstock's wife, followed
below the balloon to retrieve the tanks.
THE BALLOON traveled at a speed
of about 19 miles per hour, according to
Comstock, who added that the altitude
ranged from 9,300 feet during the day to
approximately 500 feet in the evening.
Comstock said he stayed awake
during the entire trip, but "slept like a
log" Tuesday night.
He said the only trouble he and Shaf-
fer faced occurred during the last seven
hours of the trip, when the two spent
almost all their time attempting to
avoid passing over the Detroit
metropolitan area and its airports.
When Comstock was asked if he
would try to break his own record, he
burst into laughter.
"No," he exclaimed, "I'm not going
to do it again. I promise I'm not going to
do it again."
A Dutch journalist held hostage by
South Moluccan terrorists on a train for
12 days in December 1975 consoled him-
self with the thought that he would be
exempt from the responsibility of
mailing Christmas cards that ypar.
A woman on the same train, over-
come with memories of her parents'
execution while she was a child, stared
at the floor continuously throughout the
duration of the incident.
IN STOCKHOLM, Sweden in 1974, a
female bank employee held hostage ina
vault fell in love with her captor, and

Darth Vader makes
brief A 2 apaac

Darth Vader, the fiendish villain of
"Star Wars" fame, landed in Ann Arbor
yesterday for a brief visit and
promotional tour. Residents need not
worry, however, because Vader says he
means no harm.
The tall,rdark scoundrel made a
public appearance at the Community
Newscenter on S. University Ave. in
conjunction with the opening day of
Campus Theatre's run of The Empire
publicly denounced the nation's prime
minister for his failure to understand
her lover's views.
These three vignettes illustrate some
of the ways persons respond and adapt
to being held hostage, according to Dr.
Frank Ochberg, director of the state
Department of Menal Health.
Ochberg addressed more than 70 per-
sons yesterday at the University
Children's Psychiatric Hospital
director said although general patterns
can be formulated in predicting how a
See HOSTAGES', Page 10

Strikes Back, the long-awaited sequel
to Star Wars.
VADER SAID HE had two reasons
for visiting the planet. "I'm looking for
a man named Luke Skywalker, and
there's been a rumor that he might
have landed here," he confided. "Also,
of course, I'm here to publicize my new
Although he is depicted as a villain in
the films, Vader said he does not see
himself in that light. "I'm not a bad
guy, he contended, "It's just that the
rebel forces have to be stopped to keep
the Empire together."
If he finds Skywalker, Vader says he
would like to work with him, not against
him. "I would like to teach him more
about The Force," he said. "Luke is
just a young student, not even a Jedi
yet. But there is a rumor that he saw
Yoda (the master), who taught him
more about The Force, and if that's
true, he'll be much stronger when I find
According to Newscenter District
Manager Sandy Guinness, Vader is ac-
tually a local resident dressed in garb
borrowed from a Royal Oak costume
store. When asked to reveal Vader's
identity, Guinness smiled and said,
"He's the Dark Lord-Darth Vader."

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