David Blaine's awe-inspiring, "Up"-inspired stunt went off without a hitch … though it wasn’t without some truly tense moments.
As the famous illusionist launched from the ground in Arizona attached to 52 colorful balloons -- one of which was actually an experimental aircraft -- he gave his daughter, Dessa, a gift and embarked on "Ascension" ... his latest death-defying stunt reminiscent of the classic balloons scene with the old man and his house in the 2009 Disney/Pixar film.
During the early part of Blaine's climb, he spoke with Dessa and told her he felt like he was floating, and kept repeating to viewers how incredible his view was … saying it didn’t even seem like he was on Earth.
As he reached certain levels of altitude, David would drop weights and various parts of his balloons contraption to aid in the rise, and then he pulled down his parachute and attached it to his body mid-air.
After he was connected and secure, Blaine increased his ascension and went through a rigorous breathing technique to get his oxygen levels right and prepare for his giant drop.
At one point during his constant climb, Blaine told his crew he was proud of them and that he’s never felt more confident about any stunt he’s pulled off … adding to the dramatics.
He then spoke with his daughter one last time and reminded her of the training they did together to prepare him for the cold air as he entered class A air space.
Finally -- after several more minutes of prep, and at above 24,000 feet -- he released the balloons.
It was edge-of-your-seat stuff for sure, but David’s descent from a free fall to pulling the chord on his parachute went smoothly. The only hiccup was Blaine couldn’t manage to magically appear at his target landing spot … but he improvised and landed safely not too far away.
For the stunt -- which was originally planned for earlier this week in NYC -- Blaine had to become a licensed hot-air balloon pilot. However, he moved it to Arizona, saying it was very complex and he needed a couple more days to prepare.
He's called it his "most ambitious and revolutionary feat yet" ... until the next one.