Mystery of rocket encountered by pilot solved


A Continental airlines pilot who was startled by what he described as a “rocket” yesterday gets to rest easy. Speculation flew as to what happened. Some reports say it was a missile launched by terrorists. A more “down to earth” theory involved model rocketry, as some model rockets are known to reach that height.

This morning Knoxvillian daredevil Jean-Bubba Fournay came forward and explained that he was trying to make history for the 10th time as the first person to launch himself in a rocket sled from Knoxville to Houston. He would have been traveling at “very high speeds” and the trip was very dangerous.

“I made a special pressurized suit, and it had a helmet strong enough to withstand even the biggest skeeters impacting at high speeds,” he explained, “But right before launch, the bastard ignited early when I wasn’t looking and apparently shot past that jet.” He added, “At least it made it all the way to Houston!”

This was Fournay’s 10th attempt at the record. Each time something has gone wrong. The first three times the rockets simply blew up. Then twice the rockets ran through his neighbor’s house. Three more went up instead of down. Last time, the engine separated, and this time it took off without him. But each time he was fortunate and due to early ignition, he was never actually seated on any of the rocket sleds.

“I was damn lucky,” he said. “These sleds are darn expensive, but publicity is priceless!”