Pilot loses license after fatal jet crash in Tehachapi, Calif.

Discussion in 'Modern' started by syscom3, Oct 7, 2009.

  1. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    The former Air Force captain received a revocation order after a Fourth of July aerial display ended with two deaths.

    Pilot loses license after fatal jet crash in Tehachapi, Calif. -- latimes.com

    By Dan Weikel

    October 7, 2009

    Federal authorities have revoked the pilot's license of a veteran aviator who flew in a July 4 aerial display in Tehachapi, Calif., that ended with the fatal crash of a vintage Soviet military jet with two people aboard.

    The Federal Aviation Administration canceled the airline transport pilot and ground instruction certificates of Douglas E. Gilliss of Solana Beach, a former U.S. Air Force captain and Vietnam War veteran with decades of aviation experience.

    The FAA sent Gilliss a revocation order Sept. 28, a copy of which was obtained by The Times on Tuesday under the federal Freedom of Information Act.

    Gilliss was one of several pilots who participated in a formation flyover of three Aero Vodochody L-29 Delfins, once the standard jet trainer of the Soviet Union and other Warsaw Pact nations during the Cold War. Gilliss flies with the Thunder Delfins, a group of L-29 enthusiasts.

    During the flyover, one Delfin fell out of formation and slammed into Old Town Road, killing David Zweigle, 42, the city's airport director, and Robert Chamberlain, 63, of Morrison, Colo., a retired airline pilot and former Air Force test pilot. The aircraft, which was owned and flown by Zweigle, passed over a park and missed several houses before impact.

    FAA officials say that Gilliss violated federal regulations by flying over densely populated areas at less than 1,000 feet. They also assert that Gilliss improperly carried a passenger and falsely claimed in a pilot's log that he had checked out Zweigle in the L-29 before the crash.

    Zweigle was required to demonstrate his ability to fly the L-29 to an FAA-designated flight examiner before he could act as the pilot in command of the aircraft. FAA officials say Gilliss was a flight examiner at the time.

    "You have demonstrated that you lack the required care, judgment and responsibility to hold any airman certificate," the FAA stated in the revocation order.

    Gilliss declined to comment, except to say that he would appeal the decision.

    In an earlier statement, he said the L-29s avoided populated areas and flew between 1,200 and 1,500 feet, well above the minimum required altitude.

    He said the planes did not present a hazard to the public because they proceeded along the area's railroad tracks and not directly over the city of about 35,000.

    [email protected]

    Copyright © 2009, The Los Angeles Times
     
  2. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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    Wow, I did not hear about this crash.
     
  3. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    Pretty sure you would have, VB...it's the one that happened over the 4th.

    Bob Chamberlain was a member of FLYBOYJ's family. :(
     
  4. evangilder

    evangilder "Shooter"
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    What a load of crap. I am sure that Joe has plenty of thoughts on this, but I will say that the FAA pulled a witch hunt on this and I think it really sucks.
     
  5. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    #5 GrauGeist, Oct 8, 2009
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2009
    My thoughts exactly.

    It seems more and more that the investigations are nothing more than justification for thier existance. Just look at what they did about that mosquito abatement crash where the pilot admitted he clipped the tower guy-wires...and they went after the maintenance records...
     
  6. lesofprimus

    lesofprimus Active Member

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    Ill be very interested to see what Joe has to say on this one......
     
  7. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ IP/Mech THE GREAT GAZOO
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    Hi Guys;

    I was waiting for this to hit and all i could say is "no comment." This is more for Doug's defense team than anything else but as soon as this is over I could go into detail about this. IMO the feds are looking for a scapegoat.
     
  8. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    Wow this sucks! Can't wait to see what comes out of this.
     
  9. RabidAlien

    RabidAlien Active Member

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    No surprises there. Why claim responsibility, or admit that really crappy things just tend to happen at times? Gotta blame SOMEONE!!!

    ETA: Sorry that your family is still going through this crap, Joe.
     
  10. Vassili Zaitzev

    Vassili Zaitzev Well-Known Member

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    I'll have to wait and see. Once again, I'm sorry that this had to happen to you and your family FBJ.
     
  11. evangilder

    evangilder "Shooter"
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    I am going to show my support with a new siggy. Feel free to use it guys to show your support.
     

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  12. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    I will add the siggy when I get home.
     
  13. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    Got mine!
     
  14. Maestro

    Maestro Active Member

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    What the hell ?

    A plane crashed killing two men and they blame the flight leader ? Excuse me, but I think that in a plane accident, only two persons can be blamed... The pilot (who died, in this case) and the ground crew (if it is due to a malfunction). And even though, the accident could still be the result of "dumb luck"... or bad luck, depending on your point of view. Which means no one can be blamed.

    And they're going after the guy who wasn't even in the friggin plane ? Or responsible for the maintenance of the plane ? Am I the only one to think it is stupid ?
     
  15. beaupower32

    beaupower32 Well-Known Member

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    Showing my support.
     
  16. B-17engineer

    B-17engineer Active Member

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    Can I use it? :oops:
     
  17. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    Glad to use it to show my support as well.

    Joe I know it is something really small and it probably does not help, but let Doug know that everyone here is behind him.
     
  18. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ IP/Mech THE GREAT GAZOO
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    I have - I sent him the link, don't know if he's seen it yet but I'm sure it will lift his spirits!
     
  19. beaupower32

    beaupower32 Well-Known Member

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    I am glad to see everyone showing their support. Please give Doug our best wishes.
     
  20. 1wiseash

    1wiseash New Member

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    Hi,
    I'm an old friend of Doug's, but I've lost touch over the years. Do any of you guys know if Doug was ever vindicated? From what I've read, and from what I remember of Doug, this whole thing is bull.
    Thanks in advance for any information you have.
    -1WiseAsh
     
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