‘Bal­loonatic’ plans le­gal, record-break­ing flight

Dan Bo­ria has al­ready soared over Cal­gary in a lawn chair

StarMetro Edmonton - - Edmonton -

An Al­berta man who was nick­named “bal­loonatic’’ for soar­ing over the Cal­gary Stam­pede grounds in a lawn chair held aloft with he­lium bal­loons says he’s plan­ning a le­gal flight that would break a sky­div­ing record.

Dan Bo­ria says he plans to ap­ply for per­mits from Transport Canada to launch a high­alti­tude flight and is mid­way through get­ting a hot-air bal­loon­ist li­cence.

“I’m go­ing to break the world record for the high­est sky­dive from space and we’re go­ing to go up in a lawn chair,’’ Bo­ria said in an in­ter­view.

“If we don’t get the per­mits here in Canada, we’re go­ing to have do it in the States, though I’d pre­fer to do it in Al­berta.’’

Google ex­ec­u­tive Alan Eus­tace holds the record for the high­est sky­dive from space, which he set when he jumped from a he­lium bal­loon 41 kilo­me­tres above the Earth.

Bo­ria pleaded guilty to dan­ger­ous op­er­a­tion of an air­craft for ty­ing in­dus­trial-sized bal- loons to a lawn chair as part of a plan to para­chute over the Stam­pede chuck­wagon races in July 2015.

It was a pub­lic­ity stunt for his clean­ing com­pany, but high winds forced him to jump early be­fore he reached the track.

A judge called Bo­ria’s stunt “un­con­scionably stupid’’ and fined him $5,000. An ad­di­tional $1,500 was tacked on as a vic­tim im­pact fee, and Bo­ria was also re­quired to do­nate $20,000 to a vet­er­ans food bank.

More re­cently, Bo­ria said, he flew in a bal­loon-pow­ered lawn chair high above the UFO mecca of Roswell, N.M., while he recorded an in­fomer­cial for a clean­ing prod­uct he sells.

At­tempt­ing to jump from a bal­loon on the edge of space, how­ever, is more com­pli­cated.

French sky­diver Michel Fournier tried nu­mer­ous times to make the high­est jump from a bal­loon over Saskatchewan be­tween 2002 and 2010, but tech­ni­cal prob­lems pre­vented the at­tempts from go­ing ahead.

Tem­per­a­tures at 40 kilo- me­tres above the Earth plunge to -65 C and a spe­cial pres­sure suit is needed to keep blood from boil­ing.

Bo­ria said he’s been plan­ning for two years and is hav­ing a suit man­u­fac­tured.

He said Transport Canada has told him that his con­vic­tion from his 2015 flight shouldn’t pre­clude him from get­ting per­mits for a fu­ture alti­tude record at­tempt be­cause “now I’m try­ing to do it legally.’’

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Dan Bo­ria pleaded guilty af­ter strap­ping bal­loons to a lawn­chair and fly­ing over the Cal­gary Stam­pede grounds in July, 2015.

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