Crime

Man Fined For Balloon Lawn Chair Flight Stunt

| by Kathryn Schroeder

A Canadian man has been fined after tying balloons to a lawn chair and floating over the city of Calgary.

Daniel Boria, 27, tied more than 100 industrial-sized helium balloons, at a cost of $13,000, to a lawn chair and took flight on July 5, 2015, causing disruptions to commercial aircraft, CBC News reports.

He pleaded guilty to dangerous operation of an aircraft for the stunt and will have to pay $26,500, $5000 of which is a fine and $20,000 a donation to a charity of his choice. Boria chose to donate to the Royal Canadian Legion's Poppy Fund and veteran's food bank.

"Why climb the highest mountain?" Boria said. "Why 85 years ago fly the Atlantic? Why do the [NHL's Edmonton] Oilers play the [Calgary] Flames? I chose to fly a chair; not because it is easy but because it is hard. Because that goal served to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills."

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Judge Bruce Fraser called Boria's stunt "dumb and dangerous" and "unconsciously stupid."

"There was nothing fantastic, fun or exhilarating about it," he said. "There is no precedent for so foolish an escapade."

The stunt was done to promote Boria's cleaning company, and he planned on parachuting into the Calgary Stampede chuckwagon races. Due to weather conditions, he could not land at the races. Police had been monitoring Boria since he was spotted above the stampede grounds, and he was arrested by police when he hit the ground nearby.

Because of Boria's antics, he has been nicknamed "balloonatic."

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Boria did apologize for his stunt in court.

"I really do apologize for it," he said, according to the Calgary Sun. "I understand the danger." 

When the media questioned Boria, he was less apologetic.

"I have remorse, I understand that we did cause a little bit of danger, but at the same time when you text and drive they don't charge you as if you've hit a whole bus of kids," he said.

Boria said there was little danger to his stunt, which was reminiscent of a scene from the Pixar movie "Up," even though he drifted into commercial airline flight paths, with two planes flying under his balloon chair.

"We planned the whole thing out really well ... we knew what we were doing," he said.

Boria plans to get a hot air balloon pilot's license so "we can do our next stunt legally."

It is unknown how high Boria flew, but Fraser said it is estimated at 14,000 feet.

Sources: CBC NewsCalgary Sun / Photo source: Dan Boria via Calgary Herald

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