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Daredevil soars to new heights on top of hot-air balloon

AFP, November 14, 2021 2:30PM Kids News

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French balloonist Remi Ouvrard takes a selfie from the top of a hot-air balloon 3637m above western France. Picture: Remi Ouvrard/AFP media_cameraFrench balloonist Remi Ouvrard takes a selfie from the top of a hot-air balloon 3637m above western France. Picture: Remi Ouvrard/AFP

just for fun

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A French daredevil* has broken the world record for standing on a hot-air balloon at altitude*.

Dressed as an astronaut, Remi Ouvrard stood on top of a hot-air balloon for France’s annual Telethon charity fundraiser at an altitude of more than 3637m over Chatellerault, in western France.

Down in the basket, the balloon was piloted by Mr Ouvrard’s father, Jean-Daniel Ouvrard.

media_cameraRemi Ouvrard chose the height of 3637m for his world record to encourage people to call the Telethon charity fundraiser phone number. Picture: AFP

The altitude was not random*: the height in metres matched the telephone number digits of the Telethon campaign: 36-37. The Telethon is an annual event in France that raises money for research and support related to rare neuromuscular* diseases.

After Mr Ouvrard, 28, took his breathtaking selfie, the hot-air balloon went even higher, soaring to a peak altitude of 4016m.

media_cameraRemi Ouvrard stands on top of the hot-air balloon during his world record ride above western France. Picture: AFP

This is not the first time that Mr Ouvrard has broken a record. In February 2020, he balanced on a balloon at 1217m above sea level.

The Washington Post reported that once he landed after his latest feat on November 10, he told local reporters he experienced “a feeling of ‘zenitude*’ mixed with the excitement of the performance”.

“When we passed the 3500m mark I knew that we could get the 4000m,” he said.

Mr Ouvrard is already planning a new stunt for next year.

“I told my father about it three days ago,” he said. “I have an idea for next year’s Telethon.”

media_cameraFrench balloonist Remi Ouvrard poses before setting the world record for standing on top of a hot-air balloon at more than 3637m above the ground in western France. Picture: AFP

GLOSSARY

  • daredevil: a person who enjoys doing dangerous things
  • altitude: great height; also the height of something above sea level or ground level
  • random: happening without a plan or pattern
  • neuromuscular: to do with nerves and muscles
  • zenitude: a form of calmness and relaxation experienced by people who follow the principles of Zen Buddhism

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QUICK QUIZ

  1. What country is Remi Ouvrard from?
  2. What did he wear for his stunt?
  3. Why did he stand on top of the balloon at the height of 3637m?
  4. Who was piloting the hot-air balloon?
  5. How high did the balloon eventually reach with Remi Ouvrard on the top?

LISTEN TO THIS STORY

CLASSROOM ACTIVITIES
1. Hot air balloons
Do some research to find out how hot-air balloons work. Draw a diagram or write a paragraph to show what you found out.

Draw a design for your own “mini hot-air balloon” that could be tested out using hot air from a hairdryer. Think carefully about the materials that you could use – they need to be lightweight and safe to use with heat.

Time: allow 20 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English; Science; Design and Technologies

2. Extension
Gather up the materials you decided on in your mini hot-air balloon design. Create your balloon. With the help of a responsible adult, carefully fill your balloon with hot air from a hair dryer to test it out.

Did your design work? What improvements could you make?

Time: allow 30 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English; Science; Design and Technologies

VCOP ACTIVITY
Hair-raising experiences
I bet Mr Ouvrard’s heart was pumping and adrenaline was spiked as he completed his stunt. Have you ever done something (maybe not standing on a hot-air balloon) that had your heart pumping? Maybe you had to speak at assembly, or compete in a sport, or try a new trick on your skateboard. Imagine how your body was feeling, what thoughts were going through your head, who was there and what you did.

Write a journal entry reliving your experience, including how it felt afterwards.

Make sure you re-read your work out loud when you finish to check it makes sense and see if you can up-level it.

Challenge: highlight your VCOP elements to analyse what elements help express voice in a personal response.

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