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Probation revoked for pilot who buzzed Santa Monica Pier

June 26, 2012 |  8:04 am

A local pilot who was convicted of recklessly operating an aircraft for buzzing Santa Monica Pier has been found in violation of his probation and ordered to perform 20 more days of beach cleanup or be sent to jail.

A Los Angeles Superior Court commissioner revoked David G. Riggs' probation Monday because he failed to complete the 60 days of community service that was imposed in June 2010 as part of a broader sentence. At that time, Riggs also received a fine of $900, three years’ probation and 60 days in jail, of which he served a day due to overcrowding in Los Angeles County Jail.

The court on Monday ordered Riggs to perform the required beach cleanup by Sept. 27, 2013 or he would be jailed for six months. He will not be eligible for good time, work time or an early release that would reduce the sentence.

Riggs was convicted in June 2010 of recklessly operating an aircraft, a rarely used provision of the California Public Utilities Code. Prosecutors accused him of making low-level passes over Santa Monica Beach and the Santa Monica Pier on Nov. 6, 2008, flying an Aero Vodochody L-39 Albatros, a military jet trainer that was popular in the Soviet bloc during the Cold War.

Federal authorities are now investigating Riggs in connection with the fatal crash of another L-39 Albatros that killed the pilot and a passenger on May 18 in Boulder City, Nev.

The Federal Aviation Administration is looking into whether Riggs and the pilot who was killed had illegally sold rides to the public the day of the accident. Authorities said Riggs, carrying a passenger in his own L-39, was flying next to the ill-fated plane shortly before it crashed in the desert.


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-- Dan Weikel