Body Of Pilot David Riggs Recovered In Northeast Chinese Lake

Friday, 20 Sep 2013, 8:53:00 AM

Brenton Garen

David G Riggs.
Mirror Archives
David G Riggs.

The body of a local pilot was recovered in northeast Chinese lake after 70 hours of searching following a light aircraft crash on Tuesday.

China's Xinhua news agency reports that the body of David Riggs was found in Caihu Lake at Faku Township of Shenyang City, northeast China's Liaoning Province Friday noon local time.

The agency reports that Riggs was reportedly flying a Lancair 320, a

high-performance single-engine aircraft made from a kit, when he struck

the surface of a lake outside Shenyang, where he was planning to perform

in an airshow.

His 18-year-old translator was killed instantly, but Riggs’ body was not immediately found.

Riggs' flying history has been controversial. He buzzed the Santa Monica Pier in a jet plane almost five years ago and was later convicted for recklessly operating an aircraft in violation of the California Public Utilities Code.

In November 2012, Riggs had his commercial pilot license revoked by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

Earlier in 2012, Riggs reportedly had his probation revoked by a Los

Angeles Superior Court commissioner for failure to complete community

service.

The FAA issued its ruling after completing an investigation of the

plane crash in May 2011, where a pilot and passenger were both killed.

According to news reports, Riggs, 50, was involved in an incident in

Boulder City, Nevada where he flew side-by-side with another plane, an

experimental aircraft, just before it plunged into the desert, killing

the pilot and a passenger.

The aircraft was an Aero Vodochody L-39 Albatros, a Soviet-era,

Czech-built military jet trainer, was coincidentally the same aircraft

Riggs flew over the Santa Monica Pier five years ago.

An order reportedly issued by the FAA cited Riggs for allowing the

pilot and passenger to pay to fly in an experimental plane. The FAA

reportedly revoked Riggs’ license for recklessly allowing someone to

commercially fly an experimental aircraft.

In November 2008, Riggs was accused of flying the L-39 too close to

the Pier and Santa Monica State Beach. There was also a second plane

involved but, according to the FAA, the pilot of that aircraft was not

charged or convicted of any crime.

Amateur video on YouTube shows the planes flying just above the Pier

and relatively close to the shoreline along the State Beach. At certain

points, Pier visitors are seen running away from the planes; screams are

clearly audible. Several 911 calls were reportedly made during the

brief aerial display.

In June 2010, Riggs was sentenced to three years’ probation, 60 days

community service, and 60 days jail time; he was also fined $900.

However, Riggs only served one day of his jail sentence due to

overcrowding at the county’s facilities.

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