Water Skimming Plane Scares Tubers

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The Sheriff’s office in Butte County, Calif., is investigating an impromptu Fourth of July air show that reportedly scared people tubing on the Sacramento River and resulted in a small aircraft being forced to land on a gravel bar after pursuit by a police helicopter. According to the Chico Enterprise-Record, Sgt. Dave Lilygren of the neighboring Glenn County Sheriff’s department was patrolling the river when he saw the aircraft drop its wheels in the water and skim the river for about a half mile, crossing under the Gianella Bridge. The plane made several more low passes before the Glenn County Sheriff’s helicopter arrived and forced the gravel bar landing. Glenn County Sheriff’s Capt. Jerry Smith noted that the pilot was in violation of any number of FAA regulations and he would look into the report from a criminal point of view. But Smith, who heads up air operations for the department, also had some grudging admiration for the pilot’s skill. "The pilot's either good, or crazy, or both," Smith said.