This article first appeared in VICE Canada.
In the summer of 2015 Daniel Boria took to the sky—under his ass, a lawnchair, over his head, a bunch of weather balloons.
While in the air, the 27-year-old flew high over his hometown as the crowds revelled in the ongoing Calgary Stampede. Some errant wind blew him off course, at which point Boria left his lawnchair and hurtled towards the earth before pulling the cord on his parachute. He was arrested upon landing.
"Being in the air was incredible. I was looking up at the balloons and one would blow up and the whole chair would shake," Boria told VICE at the time. "I would look down and my feet were dangling off the side. It was the same view as you would see from your window when you're in a 747, but I was looking around, and I was just on a lawn chair above the clouds."
Boria had attempted the real-life variation on the computer-animated movie Up as a marketing stunt for his cleaning company. (Yes, you read that correctly.) At the time Boria said that they "wanted to be as loud as possible without having a big bloated advertising budget like the other companies that we're competing with."
Now though, it's time for Boria to pay the piper. This week, Boria was handed a $25,000 fine, after pleading guilty in December to dangerous operation of an aircraft. The fine, along with the $13,000 he told VICE he spent on balloons, means the stunt has cost him about $38,000 (there's no word on how much he paid for the Canadian Tire lawnchair).
The CBC reported that during the sentencing Judge Bruce Fraser called Boria's stunt "dumb and dangerous" and "unconscionably stupid" and said there was "no precedent" for a stunt like this. The man who now calls himself the "Balloonatic" had a little bit of a different take on the whole situation.
"Why climb the highest mountain?" he asked outside the courthouse. "Why 85 years ago fly the Atlantic? Why do the [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."
According to the CBC, Boria pointed out the ridiculousness of being questioned for flying with balloons. He said that he has no regrets about the flight, adding that no one "charged the Wright Brothers."
However, while Boria was in the air he was a flight hazard. Six planes took off from the Calgary airport during the stunt. Boria will be fined $5,000 by the court and will pay $20,000 to a charity of his choice.
Still though, totally worth it.
Lead image via Daniel Boria.
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