‘Balloonatic’ plans to jump from space

The Canadian Press

CALGARY–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 said he plans to apply for permits from Transport Canada to launch a high-altitude 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,” he added.
Google executive Alan Eustace holds the record for the highest skydive from space, which he set when he jumped from a helium balloon 41 km above the Earth.
Boria pleaded guilty to dangerous operation of an aircraft for tying industrial-sized balloons 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 also was 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 km above the Earth plunge to minus-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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