Balloon pilot was never grounded due to gap in oversight

Published 10:22 am Tuesday, August 2, 2016

LOCKHART, Texas — If Alfred “Skip” Nichols had been a commercial airplane pilot, he probably would have been grounded long ago.

Nichols, the pilot of a hot air balloon that crashed over the weekend in Texas, killing 16, was able to keep flying despite having at least four convictions for drunken driving and twice spending time in prison — pointing to gaps in oversight of hot air balloon pilots.

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