GRANTS PASS, Ore. -- Lawn chair balloonist Kent Couch says that between the high price of helium and a fine from the Federal Aviation Administration, his flying days may be done -- at least in the U.S.
The Bend, Ore., gas station owner said Tuesday that helium costs five times what it did when he made his first flight in 2006.
And the FAA has fined him $4,500 for his tandem flight last year with Iraqi adventurer Fareed Lafta.
The FAA says they flew without pilot's licenses, failed to register the lawn chairs as an aircraft and failed to have the contraption certified as airworthy.
Couch says he feels as if he is a scapegoat, but has no regrets and loved the experience of being able to float through the sky like a cloud.