‘Balloonatic’ Assessed $26,500


A man who rode a lawn chair suspended by 100 large helium balloons into the approaches of Calgary International Airport in a 2015 publicity stunt was described as “unconscionably stupid” by a judge who assessed $26,500 CAD in financial penalties but no jail time. Daniel Boria, 27, of Calgary, pleaded guilty to dangerous operation of an aircraft last December and was before Judge Bruce Fraser for sentencing and a tongue lashing on Friday. “The stunt was unconscionably stupid,” Judge Bruce Fraser said at the hearing. “There was nothing fantastic, fun or exhilarating about it as the offender was quoted describing it. It was dumb and dangerous.” Boria’s day in court didn’t dampen his apparent enthusiasm for what he called “the greatest story to tell for the rest of my life,” and laughed off the gravitas with which Fraser and the local media appeared to view the case. “It’s pretty hard to take it seriously when you guys are asking me these questions based on me flying a lawn chair lifted by helium balloons,” he told local media.

Boria cooked up a scheme to parachute into the main arena of the Calgary Stampede, a rodeo and western festival held every July, to promote his cleaning business. When he couldn’t find a pilot willing to violate a host of regulations to get him over the grounds, he came up with the balloon idea. After launch, the wind blew him away from the rodeo and toward the airport, where he was spotted by the crews of several airliners, and controllers estimated he reached 14,000 feet. He jumped without achieving his business promotion plan but he certainly drew attention to himself. He was dubbed “the balloonatic” in Calgary and was arrested and charged. After the sentencing, Boria continued to make light of his actions, saying he caused “a little bit of danger” but it was worth it for him. He was fined $5,000, ordered to pay a $1,500 victim impact fee and required to make a $20,000 donation to a veterans food bank and he clearly disagreed with the sentence. “When you text and drive, they don’t charge you as if you were to hit a whole bus of kids.”