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1st solo trans-Atlantic balloonist supported quest

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September 16, 2013 12:24 PM EST | AP


CARIBOU, Maine — The first balloonist to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean says he didn't have any safety concerns about a North Carolina man's attempt to repeat the accomplishment with a cluster of helium-filled balloons.

Jonathan Trappe set out from Caribou, Maine, on Thursday. He ended far short of his goal 12 hours later in Newfoundland after experiencing problems.

One of Trappe's advisers was Joe Kittinger, a retired Air Force officer who once set a record for jumping from a balloon 19.5 miles up. He later became the first solo trans-Atlantic balloonist.

Kittinger said Monday that he and Trappe were inspired by the same thing – adventure. He said he had no qualms with Trappe's unusual setup and that if Trappe stepped aside, in his words, "I would've flown it."