L-39 Crash Pilot's Certificate Also Previously Revoked
Two pilots who had previously had their certificates revoked are related to the fatal crash of an L-39 jet on May 18 near Boulder City airport, Nev., the FAA said Wednesday. Douglas Edward Gilliss was killed along with his passenger in the crash. Investigators now say Gilliss had previously had his certificate temporarily revoked for falsifying the checkride of a pilot involved in the fatal 2009 crash of an L-29. On his own fatal flight, Gilliss flew an L-39 alongside another piloted by David Glen Riggs, who, as AVweb reported Monday, has also once had his certificate temporarily revoked. The FAA is also pursuing evidence of possible violations during the Boulder City crash.
Riggs lost his certificate for one year after buzzing California's Santa Monica pier in 2009. Investigators are also following up on reports that the fatal flight was flown while breaking more regulations. The FAA is trying to determine whether Riggs and Gilliss were illegally flying passengers for hire in the experimental aircraft, according an anonymous source "close to the investigation" cited by the Las Vegas Review-Journal. The NTSB has already released a report that said the passenger who was killed was part of a group of eight people who were taking flight tours in the jets. Both Gilliss and Riggs held appropriate ratings at the time of the Boulder City crash. FAA regulations generally prohibit the pilots from charging for flights on the L-39s. The FAA is currently considering changes to rules that could make such flights legal in the future, or ban them altogether. AVweb has covered that story, here.