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Half Moon Bay Pilot, 77, Killed in Travis AFB Air Show

Credit: BCN.
Credit: BCN.
A pilot killed in a plane crash while performing in an air show at Travis Air Force Base in Fairfield this afternoon has been identified as a 77-year-old Half Moon Bay man, Col. David Mott of Travis Air Force Base said.

"Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family of Mr. Eddie Andreini," Mott told reporters at a news conference at the military base this evening.

 "Mr. Andreini had been flying since he was 16 years old and performing in air shows for the last 25 years," he said.

 The veteran pilot was performing an "acrobatic aerial maneuver" in his open-cockpit Stearman biplane around 2:05 p.m. during the Travis Air Force Base Thunder Over Solano air show when the plane crashed, according to Mott.

 The colonel said the plane was upside down and "fairly close to the ground" when it crashed and burned.

Travis Air Force Base fire crews responded and pronounced Andreini dead at the scene.

The crash occurred far away from the tens of thousands of people in attendance at the air show, and no spectators were injured, according to base officials.

Pilots of both civilian and military aircraft had been performing various aerial maneuvers before a crowd of people when the crash occurred, base spokeswoman Rachel Martinez said.

According to base public affairs representatives, about 85,000 people attended the air show on Saturday. Mott said just as many people, if not more, were believed to have been at today's show.

The deadly crash prompted the air force base to shut down and cancel the remainder of the show, which was scheduled to end at 5:30 p.m.

Mott said winds at the time of crash measured at about 10 to 15 nautical miles, and that he didn't know whether wind played a role in the crash.

The National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the crash, he said.

Fairfield police temporarily shut down eastbound lanes of Air Base Parkway at Peabody Road to provide traffic control in the area.

The intersection has since reopened.

The "Thunder Over Solano" air show last took place at the military base three years ago, Martinez said.

Base officials are requesting any photos or video footage of the crash taken by people at the air show to assist with the investigation. Anyone with images of the accident is asked to call (707) 424-2000 for further instructions.

-- Bay City News
Pat Kittle May 07, 2014 at 06:11 AM
My dad had an open-cockpit Stearman he rebuilt when I was a kid. He thrilled us with aerobatics (way up there). My regards for everyone who knew this pilot -- he seems like a friend my dad never met.

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