Federal Aviation Administration

FAA Fine, Helium Costs, Ground Lawn Chair Balloonist

Bureaucratic killjoys

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An Oregon man who made headlines with his numerous flights in a lawn chair suspended from party balloons said Tuesday that between the high price of helium and a fine from the Federal Aviation Administration, his flying days might be done — at least in the U.S.

Bend gas station owner and craft beer seller Kent Couch said helium costs five times what it did when he made his first flight in 2006.

And the FAA fined him $4,500 in February for his July 14, 2012, tandem flight with Iraqi adventurer Fareed Lafta. The fine was reported Monday by The Bend Bulletin.