LOS ANGELES -- The pilot of a small plane that crashed in Malibu in April, killing two passengers, was charged yesterday with two counts of second- degree murder and flying under the influence of alcohol.

Roger Amiran, 23, was arrested at his home Wednesday on a warrant charging him with involuntary manslaughter. District Attorney Ira Reiner said he decided early yesterday to upgrade the two manslaughter charges to second-degree murder after learning that Amiran has committed numerous driving violations.

"Apparently, this person drives an airplane exactly the way he drives a car," Reiner said, adding that Amiran has had 13 moving violations in the last few years, including nine speeding tickets, and has had one or two traffic accidents in which cars have been totaled.

Amiran's rented four-seat Piper Cherokee Warrior crashed into the ocean April 9 about 500 yards off the Malibu coast. He and a passenger escaped through the door and were rescued by helicopter, but the two other passengers drowned.

Reiner said Amiran had been drinking beer with the passengers at an airport bar and began showing his friends airborne tricks with the airplane. After Amiran allegedly told them, "Watch the spray come over the wing tip," Reiner said one wing apparently dipped into the water, and the plane crashed.