...And Conflicts Continue

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Coastal flying can be fun ... or a misdemeanor. The FAA already has revoked the pilot's certificate, and now the county is charging the pilot of a Cessna 152 who allegedly buzzed a crowded beach in Santa Cruz, Calif., last May with reckless flying. The pilot was observed flying as low as 20 feet off the ground (observations may vary) and sent terrified beachgoers diving to the sand. The misdemeanor charge carries a maximum penalty of one year in county jail. Arraignment is set for Sept. 23. Meanwhile, last Wednesday night, the pilot of a Piper PA-24 Comanche violated the 30-nm restricted airspace above President Bush's ranch in Crawford, Texas. It appears the Piper's pilot may face lighter sentencing. The aircraft was escorted to the ground by fighter jets. The pilot was questioned and released without charges. "I think maybe he just goofed," said Al Tribble, an FBI spokesman in Houston. He still faces FAA penalties, though.