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Fly high with Pixar's 'Up'

The animation powerhouse is hooking up with cluster ballooning specialist Jonathan Trappe as a way of driving interest in its new film about a house carried away by balloons.

As part of a promotion for its upcoming animated feature, 'Up,' Pixar has teamed with cluster balloon pilot Jonathan Trappe to send a flying armchair around the country this spring. Jonathan Trappe/Pixar

Coming to a sky near you: a large cluster of multicolored balloons carrying a real-world version of the flying armchair featured in Pixar's forthcoming film, "Up."

The film, Pixar's 10th animated feature, focuses on the fate of 78-year-old Carl Fredricksen, his house, and a wayward 8-year-old who happens by one day. Together, launched into the sky by a cluster of balloons tied to the roof of Fredricksen's house, the two set off on, you know, the adventure of a lifetime.

For most of us, we'll have to go to the theater to share in the skyward experience. But in 20 cities around the U.S. this spring, a lucky few will have a chance to take part in a real-world manifestation of Fredricksen's flying armchair.

That's because Pixar has teamed up with cluster ballooning expert Jonathan Trappe to fly the armchair around the United States, accompanied by "a team of FAA-certified balloon pilots."

"The armchair flights will consist of a five-story-tall cluster of colorful balloons carefully attached to the gondola," a site dedicated to the project states, "allowing Media VIP aeronauts to ascend to tethered altitudes above the city and experience the world of lighter-than-air flight in a very unique way."

Even if you can't ride the armchair itself, Pixar and Trappe are offering some people the chance to be involved as volunteers. In each of the 20 cities, teams will gather at two in the morning to set the balloons off into the sky, and the project is taking applications now.

"Cluster ballooning takes a team of volunteers, all coming together to send the system aloft," the site says. "It is awe-inspiring to see a cluster system come together in the early pre-dawn hours. To be one of the people that send one of these rare systems aloft is something many people will remember their whole lives."

Lighter-than-air pilot experience, the site cautions, or some kind of ballooning crew experience, is preferred.

I don't know about you, but I do know that I'm going to do everything I can think of to be a part of it. I wouldn't miss it for the world.