Calgary police predicted 2015’s “Baloonatic” would earn a hefty fine after attempting to promote his cleaning business by flying his balloon-powered lawn chair, and provincial court Judge Bruce Fraser proved them correct after levying a $26,500 fine upon 27-year-old Daniel Boria for dangerous operation of an aircraft.
The term “aircraft” is a bit of a misnomer here, as Boria strapped an estimated $13,000 worth of industrial-sized balloons to a to a lawn chair. He managed to get about two miles off the ground without injuring himself or anyone else during a failed attempt to promote his cleaning business while airborne, and he reportedly intended to parachute into the Calgary Stampede chuckwagon races.
“The chair was shaking, and I was looking down at my feet dangling through the clouds at a 747 flight taking off,” Boria told CBC reporters after the stunt initially took place. “I saw a WestJet flight go right below me at one point.”
Fraser did not share Boria’s enthusiasm, calling the act “dumb and dangerous” and “unconscionably stupid.” After pleading guilty, Boria was fined $5,000 and required to make a $20,000 donation to the charity of his choice, which were the veteran’s food bank and the Royal Canadian Legion's Poppy Fund.
All told, Boria spent nearly $40,000 for a stunt that gained him some airtime on the nightly news. He has since started promoting himself as “The Balloon Guy” on his company website in addition to hawking various “Clean and Natural” branded products.
"Why climb the highest mountain?" Boria reportedly said outside of court. "Why 85 years ago fly the Atlantic? Why do the Oilers play the 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."