UK & World News

  • 5 May 2014, 10:31

Pilot Dies As WWII Plane Stunt Ends In Flames

A vintage biplane has crashed in an upside-down stunt at a California air show, killing the 77-year-old pilot.

Edward Andreini was flying his plane low over the tarmac at Travis Air Force Base when the aircraft crashed.

The 1944 Stearman biplane caught fire, with a thick plume of black smoke seen in video of the aftermath.

Nobody else was injured.

Mr Andreini had been flying since he was 16 and was a veteran of air shows in the US.

The plane was trying to perform a manoeuvre 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, Colonel David Mott, 60th Operations Group commander at the base, told the San Francisco Chronicle.

A witness, retired photo journalist Roger Bockrath, said Mr Andreini was flying into a sometimes gusty wind on Sunday afternoon.

"He got down too low and hit the tarmac. He skidded about 500ft and just sat there,"Mr Bockrath told The Sacramento Bee.

"The plane was essentially intact, just wrong side down," he said, adding that by the time fire crews arrived the aircraft was enflamed.

Remaining events at the Thunder Over Solano show, attended by an estimated 100,000 spectators each day over the weekend, were cancelled.

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