Pilot killed in Northern California air show crash

FAIRFIELD, Calif. (AP) — A 77-year-old pilot was killed when his vintage biplane crashed on a runway Sunday while he was performing an upside down stunt at a Northern California air show.

The plane was flying low over the tarmac when it crashed and caught fire with a thick plume of black smoke seen in video of the aftermath.

The crash prematurely ended the "Thunder Over Solano" show at Travis Air Force Base, which was attended by an estimated 100,000 spectators each day over the weekend. No one else was injured.

Edward Andreini, of Half Moon Bay, who had been flying since he was teen, was identified by the Air Force as the pilot. Federal Aviation Administration records show he was the registered owner of the 1944 Stearman biplane, a World War II-era plane commonly used to train pilots.

Col. David Mott, 60th Operations Group commander at the base, told the San Francisco Chronicle that the plane was trying to perform a maneuver known as "cutting a ribbon" where it inverts and flies close to the ground so that a knife attached to the plane can slice a ribbon just off the ground.

Andreini's website said audiences would be "thrilled at the sight of this huge biplane performing double outside loops, square loops, torque rolls, double snap rolls, and ... a heart-stopping, end-over-end tumble maneuver." It said he had flown since he was 16.

The National Transportation Safety Board will head up an investigation. Lynn Lunsford of the FAA said the FAA was already on site and will be a member of the team.

Roger Bockrath, a retired photojournalist who was photographing the afternoon show, chronicled the routine and witnessed the crash. He said Andreini, flying into a sometimes gusty wind, passed on two attempts before trying a third time, hitting the tarmac and sliding to a stop in an open field.

"He got down too low and hit the tarmac. He skidded about 500 feet and just sat there. The plane was essentially intact, just wrong side down," Bockrath told The Sacramento Bee.

Bockrath said nearly 2 1/2 minutes went by before someone appeared with a fire extinguisher. By then, the aircraft was fully enflamed and collapsing from the heat. He said it took a total of five minutes before fire crews arrived.

"He should be in the hospital with second-degree burns and smoke inhalation. Instead, he's at the coroner's office," Bockrath said. "It's shocking to me how long it took. I'm still rattled by it."

Print this article Back to Top

Comments

or Subscribe now so you can share your opinion! It’s only a penny for a month trial.

Latest Forecast
More National News
San Francisco bus provides showers for homeless
San Francisco bus provides showers for homeless

San Francisco will soon be equipped with a shower bus.

Video: Germany damaged World Cup trophy
Video: Germany damaged World Cup trophy

Someone on the German national team deserves at least a yellow card. 

Video: Is Hamas winning the Gaza PR battle?
Video: Is Hamas winning the Gaza PR battle?

Who is winning the public relations' battle in Gaza? 

Video: TSA fees go up: Cue the outrage
Video: TSA fees go up: Cue the outrage

While TSA fees are nearly doubling Monday, is the anger over a few dollars really necessary?

Obama surrounded by hawks, doves, isolationists
Obama surrounded by hawks, doves, isolationists

President Barack Obama’s biggest trouble right now come from foreign lands, from situations where America has no control and little…

A failed American experiment hides in the desert
A failed American experiment hides in the desert

Did you know there's an ocean and rainforest stuck in the middle of the Arizona desert? A science lab called Biosphere 2 one of the most…

Is Snowden developing anti-surveillance tech?
Is Snowden developing anti-surveillance tech?

Speaking to a crowd at the Hackers on Planet Earth conference in New York City, N.S.A. whistleblower Edward Snowden hinted that he…

Tooth plaque gives insight into ancient diets
Tooth plaque gives insight into ancient diets

Ever wonder what our ancestors' diets consisted of in the ancient days? Researchers have uncovered some answers after examining ancient…

Who is Behati Prinsloo? The web's hottest topic
Who is Behati Prinsloo? The web's hottest topic

Just who is Behati Prinsloo? That’s what Internet users have been asking for the past year and according to search engine statistics,…

Four articles you don't want to miss
Four articles you don't want to miss

It's been a rough few days newswise, with little relief from violent, heart-breaking stories. So do yourself a favor and apply these few…