FAA Proposes $66,000 Civil Penalty Against Nazarene Aviation Fellowship

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is proposing a $66,000 civil penalty against Nazarene Aviation Fellowship of Overland Park, Kan., for allegedly violating Federal Aviation Regulations.

The FAA alleges that Nazarene Aviation Fellowship operated an aircraft in an unauthorized and unsafe manner. Nazarene owned an Aero Vodochody L-39 jet that had a special, experimental airworthiness certificate for the purpose of exhibition and air racing. Nazarene allegedly gave a pilot named David Riggs permission to use the aircraft during May 2012 to perform proficiency checks on other pilots and for motion picture filming activities.

Riggs, however, used the aircraft on May 18, 2012, to conduct three passenger-carrying flights out of Boulder City Airport in Nevada. He allegedly charged passengers for those flights, and each flight was operated in formation with another Aero Vodochody L-39.

During the third formation flight, the pilot flying in formation with Riggs crashed, killing himself and his passenger.

The FAA alleges Nazarene violated Federal Aviation Regulations that prohibit operating an aircraft in a careless or reckless manner so as to endanger other people’s lives or property; operating an aircraft in formation flight while carrying passengers for hire; and charging people for rides on an aircraft with an experimental airworthiness certificate.

The FAA revoked Riggs’ pilot certificate for the regulation violations he committed during the May 18, 2012 flights.

Nazarene has been in communication with the FAA about this matter.

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