FAIRFIELD (CBS13) – It was a stunt that usually served as his grand finale performance.
A video posted on Youtube shows veteran pilot Eddie Andreini performing the same stunt he was doing when his plane crashed at the Travis Air Force Base Thunder Over Solano show Sunday afternoon.
“After flying aerobatics about 8 to 10, he’ll do what’s called a ribbon cut,” said Andreini’s friend Keith Breazeal.
In the inverted ribbon cut, Andreini flies his plane upside down, low to the ground and through ribbons string of ribbons.
“It’s the most challenging because it’s so close to the ground. It’s a precision maneuver and things can go wrong,” Breazeal said.
Breazeal’s video shows Andreini in the cockpit and being interviewed about his Super Stearman biplane – the plane Eddie piloted in his deadly crash.
“Eddie, this is probably one of the most modified Stearman’s flying today,” the interviewer says. “Yes it is. Its had all kinds of modifications it performs really well,” Andreini replies.
Andreini had been flying for five decades, starting when he was just 16. His friend says he knew the risk and, despite the outcome, had perfected his craft. Just last year, the International Council of Air Shows inducted Andreini into their hall of fame as an aerobatic performer.
National Transportation Safety Board investigators are now trying to determine what led the 77-year-old Andreini to crash.
“Crashing upside down is about the worst thing you can do because, basically, you get trapped in the aircraft,” Breazeal said.
Breazeal says Andreini was the owner of a family-run construction company in Half Moon Bay and that his whole family is also involved in aviation.