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'Balloonatic' fined

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CALGARY—A man who strapped 120 helium balloons to a lawn chair and soared above the Calgary Stampede grounds today was fined $5,000, with an additional $1,500 tacked on as a victims fine.

Daniel Boria, who is 27, pleaded guilty in December to dangerous operation of an aircraft in July, 2015.

Floating into Calgary airspace was part of a publicity stunt for his cleaning company and earned him the nickname “balloonatic.”

Boria tied industrial-sized balloons to the lawn chair as part of a plan to parachute over the Stampede chuckwagon races, but high winds forced him to bail early.

Judge Bruce Fraser agreed to accept a joint recommendation that Boria be fined $5,000 and make a $20,000 donation to the charity of his choice.

At his last appearance a month ago, Boria only had raised half the money he agreed to donate to Calgary's veterans food bank.

Boria was arrested by police who had been monitoring him since he was spotted soaring above the grounds.

The Crown told court in December that Boria risked the lives of passengers on incoming and departing airline flights by taking his homemade aircraft up to 2,100 metres.

“In a scenario where an aircraft travelling at 300 km/h makes contact with an uncontrollable object weighing 150-200 pounds, the results would be catastrophic damage to the airframe, engine, and/or control surfaces,” said prosecutor Matt Dalidowicz.

“Of greatest concern would be that the cockpit windshields may be compromised, and one or both flight crew members become incapacitated,” he added.

“This scenario could result in the loss of the aircraft and the lives of those on board.”

During Boria's 20 minutes in the air, 24 airplanes took off and landed in Calgary.

Boria said afterwards that he planned it so that only his own safety would be at risk.

Boria said outside court that he still is proud of his stunt and has no regrets about undertaking it.

He called the flight the most exhilarating experience he could ever imagine.

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