‘Tribute balloon’ of Gene Simmon’s head becomes air safety hazard 20,000 feet above Brazil

747 and A350 pilot Scott Bateman called the balloon "a real risk" to aircraft.

A 36-second clip of a ‘tribute balloon’ carrying a large image of KISS bassist Gene Simmons’ head was captured 20,000 feet above Brazil, posing a potential flight hazard.

The video was uploaded on Twitter on 29 April by a senior cabin crew member on the flight FL350, depicting the crew member confirming the flight’s current height by showing the instruments in the cockpit before panning towards the incoming balloon as Simmon’s face in full Kiss makeup comes into view.

The cabin crew member added the hashtag #dangerous to the post, a sentiment repeated by C130, BN2, 747 and A350 pilot Scott Bateman, who co-hosts the ‘The Layover’ show on YouTube. On his Twitter page, Bateman wrote, “These are tribute balloons that are regularly seen in #Brazil and across S America. They pose a real risk to #aircraft and #WePilots need to keep a sharp lookout. I recently avoided one over #SaoPaulo area at 20k. @grahamsturgeon has also seen one. Why?”

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Simmons himself, however, appears to be a big fan of the balloon, tweeting, “I would recommend you watch this video from the cockpit of a jet 20,000 feet up in the air. You won’t believe what they see.”

The KISS “Demon” previously made headlines when he tweeted in defense of the unconventional union between 38-year old Akihiko Kondo and his virtual ‘wife’ Hatsune Miku: “It doesn’t matter if you understand this relationship. It only matters if this Otaku man is happy. Otaku is a person who is a manga and tech fan. Good luck to him.”

The musician also recently defended Mike Tyson over a viral video of Tyson punching an airplane passenger said to have been harassing the boxing legend.

KISS’ farewell tour The End of the Road is also currently underway, with the band having played in Ribeirão Preto, Brazil yesterday (1 May). The tour was originally put on hold in 2020 due to the coronavirus epidemic but is now expected to conclude sometime in early 2023.

KISS is currently touring with original members Paul Stanley and Simmons, more recent recruit Tommy Thayer on guitars and longtime on-and-off associate Eric Singer on drums.

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