Pilot loses license after buzzing Galveston Co. beach

HOUSTON Joseph Bryan Kirbow flew so low during the March incident that the plane snagged a man's line and broke his fishing pole, while wind from the plane blew another man's hat off, the Federal Aviation Administration said Wednesday.

Planes must fly at least 1,000 feet in the air except during take off or landing, FAA spokesman Lynn Lunsford said.

Kirbow surrendered his airman certificate "immediately" after receiving the FAA's June 16 revocation letter and can't apply for a new license for at least a year, Lunsford said.

Phone numbers were not listed for Kirbow's home address in Beaumont nor his company where the plane was registered, Kirbow Transportation Enterprises, in Nederland, Texas.

During the flight, one of Kirbow's two passengers asked if they would be in trouble for flying so low, according to the FAA investigation. Kirbow said he had "buzzed the beach many times" and "would not get in trouble for it."

One witness, Terry Rodery of Santa Fe, told investigators he thought the plane was going to crash until he saw the pilot smile and buzz the group at least twice.

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