But seconds later Mike - the Bullet - Smith loses his inevitable battle with gravity and lands 50 yards away on a giant safety net.
The cannonball man, wearing a special red jumpsuit and safety helmet, was the star attraction at the Royal Norfolk Show in Norwich.
Thousands of spectators clustered around the waterlogged field on Thursday to watch him execute a perfect arc across the sky.
Photographer Bill Smith was perfect placed to film his spectacular ascent with his high-speed professional Nikon camera.He said: "I was in the right place at the right time. The blast from the cannon was so loud the first few frames were a little wonky, but I managed to keep it steady.
"My camera, which takes around eight shots a second, was for the job."
Mr Smith used all 29 frames his camera took of the flight to produce this astounding composite picture.
Having perfected his craft over 20 years in the job, he combined each frame of the photos stuntman using a computer software programme.
He added: "When I started we just used film and printing. But with digital cameras you can do some quite exciting things. It was really fun putting this sequence together."