Slammer-Time! Felon/Pilot David Riggs Goes to Jail | Aero-News Network
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Wed, Nov 16, 2011

Slammer-Time! Felon/Pilot David Riggs Goes to Jail

High-Flying Con/Flyer Gets Wings Clipped... By LA Court

It finally happened... after countless episodes of "how long can he keep getting away with this nonsense?", Convicted Felon and occasional aero-embarrassment, David G Riggs (48), was sent to jail a few hours ago after a Judge affirmed his 2010 conviction for a dangerous high-speed jet buzz job over the Santa Monica Pier in 2008. Riggs will also have to pay some $6000 in court costs and associated fines and fees. Riggs became a pilot in 1984, and has multiple convictions for wire fraud, bank fraud and passport fraud.

In this incident, Riggs was convicted of recklessly operating an aircraft in a manner that endangered life and property for flying (at times) within 50 feet above the ground over the pier in the Soviet-era jet. The stunt was to promote the movie "Kerosene Cowboys," which was never released. He was originally convicted in 2010. His attorney had appealed the jail time portion of the conviction based on the assertion that the stunt was carefully choreographed and performed by a professional pilot. He also maintained that Riggs did not fly too low or too close to the people on the pier or the beach.

As ANN reported, the FAA almost immediately revoked Riggs' pilot certificate following the stunt. But on March 17th, 2009, an administrative law judge modified that revocation order to a 210 day suspension, and it was eventually reinstated.

A three-judge panel in LA Superior Court, consisting of judges Anita Dymant, Joseph Kalin, and Gregory Keosian upheld Riggs' conviction and the original sentence earlier this month.

Riggs had more recently gotten involved with the bizarre and convoluted "Ultimate Air Racing Championship" ... a planned head-to-head pylon race that the FAA refused to allow to proceed primarily for safety reasons -- an event that was surrounded by dozens of false claims, contradictions and alleged frauds.

The current 60 day jail sentence may wind up being considerably shorter due to well-known problems with over-crowding of the LA Country Jail network... but the 60 days of community service are expected to be served out in their entirety. Still; a great many questions still surround Riggs, who has been seen frequently on YouTube giving rides in an L-39 jet trainer for apparent compensation and engaging in a number of high-speed, low-altitude maneuvers that call into question the legality of his activities. Further, allegations of numerous activities that appear to be fraudulent continue to be made and pressed publicly and in court... meaning that Riggs' current jail stay may be far from his last (and is far from his first... having done prison time overseas as well as in the USA for non-aviation-related crimes).

More info to come as this story develops...

FMI: Court Summary, www.aviationcriminal.com

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