At about 13:45 EST, the pilot of an American AA-1 Yankee was killed when the airplane crashed into a river shortly after takeoff from Danielson Airport. Witnesses reported the pilot initiated a steep climb, at which point the engine cut out and the airplane descended into the river. An annual inspection had been completed recently, and the mechanic stated that the airplane was in mint condition. The airplane received a supplemental type certificate to replace the original engine with a Lycoming O-320. The airplane did not have an STC to use auto gas, yet inspectors discovered a strong odor of automobile gas at the scene. The pilot previously held a commercial pilot certificate that was suspended in 1994 due to a low flying complaint. The pilot was observed flying with the suspended license and his license was revoked in 1996. The pilot began flying again as a student pilot on November 28 and received a safe for solo checkout from an instructor who said the student pilot was headstrong and not a good listener, tended to avoid using the checklist, tended to roll into a steep turn from downwind to base leg, and rushed everything. However, the student pilot also had a good feel for the aircraft, maintained proper airspeed on climbout, was always in trim with the ball centered, reacted properly to windshear, did a good stall recovery, and had good landings.