FAA Revokes Dave Riggs' Certificate

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A California pilot who has run afoul of various authorities before has had his pilot certificate revoked by the FAA. Dave Riggs, 50, who is perhaps best known for buzzing the Santa Monica pier in an L-39 in 2008 (resulting in a one-year suspension), had his ticket pulled for his involvement in an illegal fly-for-hire operation in Nevada earlier this year. Riggs was in formation with another L-39 flown by Doug Gilliss when Gilliss' aircraft crashed, killing him and passenger Richard Winslow. The FAA says Winslow and others paid for flights in the L-39s in violation of FARs that don't allow commercial flights in experimental-registered aircraft like the jets used for the flights. Riggs is fighting the revocation.

"We've done nothing wrong," said Riggs, who told The Associated Press the flights were being conducted under a waiver for film and television production work. He didn't specify what film project was being shot. As we reported in June, the NTSB preliminary report said the man who died was among eight people who had paid for a flight in one of the jets. "You have a history of committing other violations that indicate you put your own economic gain over aviation safety," FAA lawyer Naomi Tsuda told Riggs. "You were willing to sacrifice the safety of others for your own personal financial gain by charging for flights in (the jet)."