Central Oregon’s ‘Balloon Man’ Faces FAA Fine

(CBS Seattle) — A man who flew his lawn chair over Bend, Oregon last year faces a $4,500 from the Federal Aviation Administration on the grounds that his actions were “unauthorized” and “reckless.”

The Bulletin reports the FAA issued a fine to Kent Couch for his flight from Bend to a field near Post, Oregon on July 14, 2012.

The agency cited Couch because he acted as a pilot without valid certificates or authorization, operated an unregistered aircraft without and airworthiness certificate and “operated and aircraft in a careless or reckless manner so as to endanger the life or property of another.”

The Bulletin reached out to Couch by phone who says he is contesting the FAA’s fine.

Below is a video documentation of Couch and Fareed Lafta making last year’s flight:

Lafta, who is an Iraqi pilot, faces a similar fine for his involvement with Couch’s flight, but because he lives in Dubai, the FAA has not been able to reach him directly.

Both Couch and Lafta’s intent when launching into the sky was to fly 360 miles to Montana in a day-and-a-half, according to the Bulletin. Thunderstorms cut the flight short.

During the flight, the balloons reached an altitude of 14,060 feet, as measured by an altimeter carried aboard, according to FAA documents.


(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Bulletin contributed to this report.)


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