A septuagenarian pilot who had thrilled audiences for almost half a century was killed when his vintage biplane crashed upside-down on a runway at a California air show.
The accident brought to a halt the “Thunder Over Solano” show at Travis Air Force Base, which was attended by an estimated 100,000 spectators. No one else was injured.
The Air Force identified the pilot as Edward Andreini, 77. 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.
Andreini was trying to perform a maneuver known as “cutting a ribbon” where he inverts the plane and flies close to the ground so that a knife attached to it can slice a ribbon just off the ground, Col. David Mott, 60th Operations Group commander at the base, told the San Francisco Chronicle.
Edward Andreini had flown since he was 16.The plane, flying low over the tarmac, crashed and caught fire, letting off a thick plume of black smoke.