'Balloonatic' gets $26.5K fine for 'unconscionably stupid' lawn chair flight over Calgary

'Balloonatic' gets $26.5K fine for 'unconscionably stupid' lawn chair flight over Calgary

In a phony Boston accent, Daniel Boria quoted John F. Kennedy's moon speech and compared himself to the Wright brothers to explain why he tied over 100 helium balloons to a lawn chair and floated four kilometres above Calgary, getting in the way of commercial aircraft and putting hundreds of lives at risk.

Boria, 27, was ordered to pay $26,500 in fines when he was sentenced Friday, after pleading guilty in December to dangerous operation of an aircraft for the 2015 stunt.

''Unconscionably stupid' stunt

"Why climb the highest mountain?" said Boria outside 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."

In handing down the sentence provincial court Judge Bruce Fraser called Boria's stunt "dumb and dangerous" and "unconscionably stupid."

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

Fraser agreed to accept a joint recommendation between Crown prosecutor Matt Dalidowicz and defence lawyer Alain Hepner that Boria be fined $5,000 and make a $20,000 donation to the charity of his choice.

The veteran's food bank and the Royal Canadian Legion's Poppy Fund were the recipients of Boria's donation. 

No regrets

On July 5, 2015, Boria tied $13,000 worth of industrial-sized balloons to a Canadian Tire lawn chair and took to the skies to promote his cleaning company, with the plan to parachute into the Calgary Stampede chuckwagon races.

Uncooperative weather forced him to bail early, and winds pushed his landing to Ogden Road, where he was arrested by police who had been monitoring Boria since he was spotted above the Stampede grounds. The Crown noted he has since earned the nickname "balloonatic."

During the time he was in the air, 24 airplanes took off and landed in Calgary.

​ He said the stunt was worthwhile and he has no regrets.

"[They] didn't charge the Wright brothers," said Boria.

"It's pretty hard to take it seriously when you guys are asking me these questions based on me flying a lawn chair."

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