Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Lancair 360, C-FXCK, Youth Aviation of Canada Inc: Accident occurred September 17, 2013 in Liaoning Province, Faku County - China

The body of a Hollywood stunt pilot has been found days after his plane crashed as he was apparently practicing one of his tricks. 

 Dave Riggs, who has been missing since Tuesday's accident, died in China where he was reportedly rehearsing for an air show near Shenyang.

His body was found as divers searched the bottom of a lake and officials said he was probably killed when the aircraft struck the water.

His Chinese translator also lost her life. She was pulled from the lake but died later in hospital.

The head of the search team Zhang Fang said Riggs crashed while attempting a stunt in which his plane's wheels were to drag along the lake surface at high speed.

Riggs' single-engine Lancair 320 plane broke into pieces on impact and some parts have been recovered, including one of its two seats.

He had just taken off in a light rain, but there was no indication he had violated any flying regulations.

Other reports said Chinese officials had urged Riggs not to take off, but Mr Zhang said he had no information about that.

Riggs' website said he has held several aviation speed world records, but it does not mention the fact his US pilot's license had been suspended twice, reported AP.

The news agency said the first suspension was after he flew close to Santa Monica pier in Los Angeles in his Vodochody L-39 Albatros jet trainer.

Riggs was sentenced to 60 days of community service and 60 days in jail for reckless flying.

He lost his license again in November for selling rides in his plane without permission.

The prosecution came after a plane piloted by a business partner crashed, killing both people on board.

The pilot's website also said: "Dave Riggs and his team of pilots and visual professionals have delivered compelling images for such notable projects as the films Jar Head, Casino Royale and Iron Man."


Rescuers are expanding their search for a missing US pilot on Thursday, though they said the pilot was unlikely to be found alive two days after his stunt plane crashed into a lake in northeast China's Liaoning province.

The accident occurred around 1 p.m. on Tuesday when a  Lancair 360 aircraft with pilot David Riggs and a Chinese translator on board crashed into Taihu Lake in Liaoning's capital city of Shenyang, during a trial flight.

The translator was pulled from the water but died later in hospital. Riggs remains unaccounted for.

Rescuers on Thursday expanded their search area to 100 meters around the site of the crash. Twenty rescuers from the Beijing-based Lantian rescue team also have joined the 11-member team from the Beihai rescue bureau under the Ministry of Communications in the search.

A seat and two seat-backs have been salvaged with another seat yet to be found, leading to speculation that the missing pilot was probably fastened to the seat and remained trapped in the aircraft.

Riggs is an experienced Hollywood aerobatic pilot who had set several speed records worldwide. He came to Shenyang to attend the "AOPA-China Fly-In 2013" air show scheduled to run from Sept. 20 to 22 in Faku County.

The organizing committee of the show said the US team may be absent from the performance due to the accident. A total of 12 aircraft from Sweden, the United States, France and the Republic of Lithuania were due to attend the event.

The aircraft was assembled at a local airport, according to the committee, but it had undertaken three successful trial flights before the accident.

The aircraft belongs to the MACH 1 aerobatic team from the United States.

The CAAC Northeast Regional Administration has set up a work team to investigate the cause of the accident.


BEIJING -- The Southern California daredevil whose plane crashed into a lake in northeastern China while performing stunts from the movie “Top Gun” had disregarded warnings to cancel his flight because of bad weather, witnesses said Wednesday.

A search for the pilot, David G. Riggs, continued Wednesday, but neither he nor his body had been located by nightfall.

Riggs crashed into a lake near Shenyang on Tuesday afternoon while flying a Lancair 320, a high-performance single-engine aircraft made from a kit.

Riggs was a controversial figure, who had lost his pilot's license twice for buzzing the Santa Monica Pier and for illegally selling rides to the public. Although his license had not been restored, Chinese organizers hired him as one of the star performers in the International Flight Conference & General Aviation Products Expo, which is set to open Friday.

His 18-year-old translator was killed instantly in Tuesday’s crash.

Witnesses said Riggs was practicing a stunt in the rain that required him to gently touch the wheels of the aircraft on the water of the lake to make it appear the plane was skiing.

"The weather was bad. It was raining," said Xu Jiuqing of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, one of the organizers of the air show. “There were suggestions that he cancel his flight, but he didn’t listen to our advice. He insisted on flying."

Riggs’ flight took off at 1:40 p.m. local time from the Shenyang Faku General Aviation Base, and within two miles crashed straight into the lake.

Chinese officials said Wednesday that extensive wreckage of the airplane had been recovered from the lake, but as of Wednesday afternoon, local time, not Riggs’ body.

"They are still searching for him or his body," said Zhi Jiezhi, of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Assn. of China, another organizer of the show.

Riggs, whose aviation company is based in Studio City, is one of the most notorious private pilots in Southern California.

In November 2008, he made several low-level passes over the Santa Monica Pier in an Aero Vodochody L-39 Albatros, a Czechoslovakian-built jet trainer once popular with Soviet bloc air forces.

The Federal Aviation Administration revoked Riggs’ flight privileges for a year and he was convicted of recklessly operating an aircraft, a misdemeanor. He was sentenced to 60 days of community service and 60 days in county jail, but he served only a few days of his jail sentence because of overcrowding in the facility.

Last November, Riggs lost his pilot’s license for another year for selling rides to the public in an L-39 without FAA approval. The enforcement action stemmed from an accident in May 2012 in which another L-39 crashed in the desert outside Boulder City, Nev., killing a veteran pilot and his passenger.

Authorities said Riggs was flying with another passenger in his own L-39 next to the ill-fated plane shortly before it crashed. He and the other pilot had sold rides to eight people who traveled to Boulder City Municipal Airport.

In an interview with Chinese state media published Tuesday, Riggs praised the rapid development of the Chinese aviation industry. But when asked what advice he would offer to budding pilots, he said they should concentrate not on flying but on their studies.

"Establish a solid foundation while you are young, especially study math and sciences, and continuously strive towards your dreams," he told the newspaper.

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