Wed, Aug 22, 2007
Sheriff's Helo Forced Ultralight To Land After Complaints
Fooling around in an ultralight
aircraft may net some serious charges to a California pilot.
The pilot reportedly flew very low July 4 over the Sacramento
River, allegedly alarming a group of tubers enjoying an
Independence Day outing. He then flew under the Gianella Bridge--
an act was witnessed by a Glenn County sheriff's deputy, working
Sgt. Dave Lilygren promptly alerted the Butte County Sheriff's
Office, which launched a helicopter to look for the aircraft.
Witnesses described it as a homebuilt with two people on board.
Lilygren said the pilot was flying so low he thought a crash was
imminent. The helicopter pilot found the plane and forced it to
land on a gravel bar in the river, according to the Chico
After interviewing the pilot, he was allowed to leave.
Richard Conte, an aviation safety inspector with the Federal
Aviation Administration's Flight Standards field office in
Sacramento, said serious charges are likely against the pilot,
saying he was "careless and reckless." Some of the rule violations
may apply only to ultralights, which the pilot was flying.
The pilot told a reporter for the Enterprise-Record he was not
the only one to fly under that bridge that day, but the FAA said
there are no other similar investigations going on.
Any criminal charges will be up to the Butte County Sheriff's
Office, and the pilot's identity will not be released unless
charges are filed.
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