Atlas Obscura is organizing trips! Join us on an adventure »
Today Only: 50% off Atlas Obscura books and calendars at Barnes & Noble »

‘I Chose to Fly a Chair, Not Because It Is Easy But Because It Is Hard’

Calgary’s balloon man has no regrets.

If you strapped a chair to a lot of helium balloons and flew into the sky, would it be fair to compare yourself to the Wright Brothers? 

Daniel Boria, a 27-year-old man who, last year, did just that over the city of Calgary, thinks so. 

Boria’s stunt, which you can watch above, captured the attention of city residents, in addition to police, who promptly arrested him when he landed. He later pleaded guilty to dangerous operation of an aircraft, and was sentenced Friday to a $26,500 fine in Canadian dollars, or around $20,000 in U.S. dollars, according to the CBC. 

Most striking, in this case, is the level of dissonance between the reactions of the presiding judge, who called Boria’s stunt “unconscionably stupid,” and Boria, who disagreed.

“Why climb the highest mountain?” Boria told the CBC. “Why 85 years ago fly the Atlantic? Why do the Oilers play the 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.”

Boria also noted that they “didn’t charge the Wright Brothers,” which is true.