Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

You can own "balloon boy's'' flying contraption

SPRING HILL — Arguably the world's most famous homemade balloon is up for sale. For $1 million.

With hopes of raising money for tsunami victims in Japan, Spring Hill residents Richard and Mayumi Heene — parents to Falcon Heene, better known as "Balloon Boy" — are auctioning off the infamous balloon, which Richard notes is technically a flying saucer.

The Heenes rushed into the public consciousness on Oct. 9, 2009, when Richard told authorities Falcon had climbed into the 20-foot in diameter contraption just before it took off. When it landed hours later, after a police chase carried live on national television, it was empty. Falcon later was discovered hiding in the family's garage.

Richard pleaded guilty to felony charges and served 28 days in jail, and his wife did community service for filing a false police report.

Now, Richard said, they hope the incident can bring about some good for people in Japan, where Mayumi still has family members. A California attorney will run the auction through until its end on June 7, Richard said. The site has a "purchase now" price of $1 million.

Already, he said, they've received six-figure offers.

"I am blown away," Richard said Wednesday. "It's far above anything I would have anticipated."

After the auction, Richard said, he and the attorney will determine to which charities the money will be disbursed. As a stipulation of his probation, Richard can't profit from the incident.

John Woodrow Cox can be reached at (352) 848-1432 or

You can own "balloon boy's'' flying contraption 06/01/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, June 1, 2011 9:50pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Amid FBI probe of Tallahassee, Gillum says GOP trying to 'put as much dirt on me as they can'


    Tallahassee mayor and candidate for governor Andrew Gillum might like his supporters to think a federal investigation into development deals in his city is political – but …

    Andrew Gillum
  2. Tampa pedestrian struck, killed near Temple Terrace


    A Tampa woman was killed Saturday night after she was hit by a car while walking near Temple Terrace.

  3. Snell to rejoin rotation Wednesday



  4. Illegal sign patrol on a mission to clean up Hillsborough streets

    Human Interest

    BRANDON --Jim Reed, rifling through the back of his Nissan Pathfinder, picks out a sign.

     Citizen volunteers, Reed and Bill Staley take down illegal roadside signs for county code enforcement.  CHARLIE KAIJO   |   Times
  5. Video: Crowd catches teen falling from Six Flags ride


    QUEENSBURY, N.Y. — A teenager fell about 25 feet (about 8 meters) from a stopped gondola ride at an upstate New York amusement park Saturday night, tumbling into a crowd of park guests and employees gathered below to catch her before she hit the ground.

    A teenager fell from a stopped gondola ride at Six Flags in upstate New York. [FACEBOOK VIA LOREN LENT]