SIXTY ONE year old chauffeur and self-taught rocket scientist ‘Mad’ Mike Hughes, who believes the earth is flat, has done what no one thought he would ever do. Manage to get off the ground in a home-made projectile.
The limo driver soared 1,875 feet into the air above Amboy, in the Mojave Desert in California, before parachuting to the ground.
Mr Hughes was uninjured, apart from a sore back, and said, after he was checked by paramedics:
I’m tired of people saying I chickened out and didn’t build a rocket. I’m tired of that stuff. I manned up and I did it.
The chauffeur spent months building his rocket and converting a mobile home into a ramp, which launched the rocket at a vertical angle so that it wouldn’t fall onto public land.
Mr Hughes’s rocket reached a top speed of 350mph on take-off before he pulled his parachute as he neared 2,000 feet. He deployed a second one as he began to fall to earth too fast.
The home-made projectile crashed back down to the ground with the nose breaking in to two pieces, like it was designed too.
Mr Hughes lives in Apple Valley, California himself and has fought an online battle with critics who called him a crackpot, over his home-made rocket and his belief in a flat earth.
Mr Hughes has no regrets about the launch and added:
Am I glad I did it? Yeah, I guess. At least I can go home and have dinner and see my cats tonight. My story really is incredible. It’s got a bunch of story lines. The garage-built thing plus I’m an older guy. It’s also out in the middle of nowhere, plus the flat earth thing. The problem is that it brings out all the nuts, people questioning everything. It’s the downside of all this.
The limousine driver is also adamant that he is not on a mission to prove that the earth is flat. “Do I believe that the earth is shaped like a frisbee? I believe it is. Do I know for sure? No, that’s why I want to go up into space.”
Mr Hughes added that his long term ambition is to view the earth’s curvature in a ‘Rockoon’ – a rocket that is carried into the atmosphere by a gas-filled balloon, then lit after separating from the balloon. He also plans to run for the governorship of California.