Only partially kidding. The flat Earth bit was a publicity stunt in the first place. I know they are full of it, you know they're full of it, and anyone who believes the Earth is flat is incredibly ignorant or delusional.
The ignorant part can be forgiven if they came here from a remote society where they only thing taught is the holy book of a 9th century warlord con man or a tribe the nearest civilization hasn't bothered to reach.
If it's ignorance of an American born adult I have to blame the school system he grew up with..... they should be fired, or ask where this tribe of bronze age folk are. A hollow in the Pennsylvania hills? ( or New York. ) A splinter Mormon faction in cliff dwelling hidden fortress?
The most cut off people I can imagine, the survivors in a cold war redoubt of an emergency haven for congress or SAC that got entombed and abandoned, forgotten in the secrecy and cover ups of the LBJ regime. And if they were military I'd expect them all to educated and trained in planetary nuclear missile science.
I do excuse the gullible stupid, mostly. I know a very nice guy who you could sell anything to. Sad. Son of a friend, great heart, likable and a contributing member of society, and he's getting better. There's a theory that the part of the brain that runs risk analysis doesn't mature until the late twenties to mid thirties in males. This explains the participation rate in high mortality risk activities among young folk. ( and one reason the military and revolutions use them, besides the physical reasons. ) Don't know if the theory is true. Gives me hope. It's probably just because falling down hurts more when you get old.
A balloon drop solves the legal problems of land owner liability. It's also safer if your intention is to land by parachute.
There is a dead zone as the balloon rises where you're too low for a chute to open, but it's relatively safe and reasonably brief. Much safer than when under rocket power.
Consider the probable failure modes.
Under balloon, winds can drag you on the ground or into power lines. Proper ballast control and care with weather mostly solves that. The suspension and cut away system can drop you early, or not at all. Both potentially fatal.
Under rocket power, it can explode, bad. Or stop early. If under balloon and equipped with parachute, that's survivable. Early rocket shut down can be fatal if you're not high enough to use the chute.
So although balloon launch adds to the complexity and risk, it makes one highly likely failure mode, the amateur built unproven rocket not working, safer.
If it explodes it doesn't matter much if you're airborne or sitting on your camper/launch platform.
And. Practically, if it's a scam, it offers more fund raising opportunity and the safe fail of losing the balloon while never leaving the ground. A spectacle with minimal risk.
Why is he thinking steam powered? Get your engine casing. Fill it with rubber with a hollow space down the center. Light it up with a nozzle at the rear and a nitrous tank in front. Now fill the hollow part with nitrous and hang on.
Because he's a "Flat-Earther." Of COURSE he's going to think more along the lines of "Steampunk" than science. He even flat out said he doesn't believe there's a difference between science and science fiction.
I don't take the Flat Earth bit seriously. He's running a con and getting some thrills. He's launched himself for fun & profit before.
I don't know the specs on his rocket engine. They're probably appalling. There's a reason I ended my affair with rockets for personal transport after the Centari engines on my bicycle failed to give useful speeds. Also the old movies of the history of flight where they are throwing snow on the rocket-bicycle guy's flaming butt.