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Half Moon Bay Stunt Pilot Attempting To Cut Ribbon At Travis AFB Fatal Crash, NTSB Says

Stunt pilot Eddie Andreini planned to make three passes in his 1944 Super Stearman biplane during a "ribbon-cut maneuver" at the "Thunder Over Solano" Air Show at Travis Air Force Base earlier this month. 

Andreini's first two passes flying upright were not intended to cut the ribbon suspended 20 feet off the ground between two poles across the runway, the National Transportation Safety Board said. 

The third and final pass was to be an attempt to cut the ribbon with the plane's vertical stabilizer while flying upside down, but the plane was too high and it didn't cut the ribbon, the NTSB said. 

[Previous: Half Moon Bay Pilot Killed in Air Show Was Performing Maneuver When Plane Crashed [VIDEO]

Andreini's unscheduled second attempt to cut the ribbon cost him his life. 

The 77-year-old Half Moon Bay resident with 30 years experience as a stunt pilot aligned his Boeing E75 Stearman biplane with the runway, rolled the plane upside down again and crashed on the runway before reaching the ribbon, the NTSB said in its preliminary report of the fatal May 4 crash. 

The plane's right wing hit the ground first followed by the tail, left wing and propeller. The inverted plane slid between the ground crew that was holding the poles for the ribbon in place and slid 740 feet, the NTSB said. 

 Still and moving images showed the subsequent fire became visible just before the plane came to a stop hundreds of feet from the ground crew, the NTSB said. 

Fire consumed most of the right side of the plane in 50 seconds, and Air Force rescue and firefighting personnel arrived at the burning plane three to four minutes after the accident and extinguished the fire, the NTSB said. 

The plane's 47-gallon fuel tank was mounted in the center section of the upper wing just in front of the cockpit. The right wing and cockpit furnishings were almost completely consumed by fire, but the cockpit itself was not deformed, the NTSB said. 

Winds at the time of the crash were 15 knots with gusts up to 21 knots, the NTSB said.

--Bay City News


A Delargo May 14, 2014 at 11:59 AM
Two thoughts.... One, this was a 77 year old guy flying a 70 year old plane upside down 20 feet above the ground, what could happen ? Two, 'they' should not prohibit these events, it was his right to smear himself all over the runway, although probably not on purpose. I think a bigger deal is how people of advanced age are able to fly antiques above our heads.... I know they are periodically tested and re-certified but can we use a little common sense here ?
Evan "Bubba" Mc'Chevrolet May 29, 2014 at 12:28 AM
Bro you are a plebeian and a dishwasher, your asinine thoughts make me sicker than a horse on a Tuesday morning. You need to rethink like a tractor on Wednesday after a candle racing contest. You better check yourself before you before you crouch like couch, and ski like a flea, and you jump while you krump, and you cry like the sky and you cook like a crook. And I can't believe you would insult the guy, who made you king of the patch!

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