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“It takes six months after you land for your brain to get over the fear and just the emotions,” he said.

The two men had hoped to fly through the night across the mountains of Idaho and touch down Sunday morning in southwestern Montana. Because they expected to float at an altitude of 15,000 to 18,000 feet, where temperatures drop to near zero, they packed sleeping bags.

Their rig included 800 pounds of ballast — red Kool-Aid in 40-gallon barrels. Other than a GPS, navigation gear, satellite phone, oxygen, two-way radios, eight cameras and parachutes, they were carrying two Red Ryder BB rifles and a pair of blowguns to shoot out enough balloons to land when the time was right.

Electronic gear was powered by a solar panel. A flare gun was tied to the framework for emergencies. They also carried the ashes of a family friend to spread over the high desert.

Lance Schliep, an appliance repairman, helped Mr. Couch with the latest design, made entirely from items bought at hardware stores and junk from Mr. Couch’s garage.

“It’s about as redneck as you can get,” Mr. Couch said.

Mr. Lafta, a mountain climber and sky diver, said he shared Mr. Couch’s childhood dream of floating like a cloud. He sent Mr. Couch an email two winters ago after reading about Mr. Couch’s earlier flights.

The flight was a warm-up for plans to fly a tandem lawn chair balloon rig in Baghdad sometime in the future.

“My target is to inspire young people, especially in the Mideast,” Mr. Lafta said. “I want to tell them: ‘I didn’t give up. Keep standing. Smile. This is the way to defeat terrorists.’”

Mr. Couch said receiving Mr. Lafta’s email during the winter, at a time he was bored, inspired him to go aloft again.

“I never really thought I would do it again,” Mr. Couch said. “I thought I had had enough excitement.

“I started thinking, it sounds fun.”

They planned to fly over Iraq last year but ran into problems getting permission from the government.

Mr. Couch has said he was inspired by a TV show about the 1982 lawn chair flight over Los Angeles by truck driver Larry Walters, who gained urban myth immortality.

Mr. Couch’s first time up was in 2006, when he flew a distance of 99 miles before the balloons started popping. In 2007, he flew 193 miles before running low on helium and landing in the sagebrush of eastern Oregon.

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