APTOPIX Air Show Plane Crash

A worker fights a fire after a vintage biplane crashed upside-down on a runway at an air show at Travis Air Force Base in Fairfield, Sunday. The pilot, Edward Andreini, 77, of Half Moon Bay, was killed when the plane, flying low over the tarmac, crashed and caught fire. (AP Photo/Bryan Stokes)


NTSB continues probe of fatal Travis crash

By From page A3 | May 07, 2014

FAIRFIELD — An investigator with the National Transportation Safety Board said during a brief news conference Monday morning at Travis Air Force Base that his organization is focused on “perishable evidence” from a fatal biplane crash Sunday during the Thunder Over Solano air expo.

Investigator Howard Plagens said the NTSB would focus the earliest steps in its investigation into the Sunday crash on evidence that includes ground scars and the plane’s wreckage, which was expected to be removed Monday from one of the base’s runways to a secured site in Pleasant Grove for further examination.

The NTSB had already received as many as 100 videos of the crash, Plagens said. They were already being reviewed as part of the investigation.

Many of the videos are from spectators who lined the runway as part of the air show that organizers estimated drew a crowd  of 100,000 people. The crash prompted the closure of the event and the base.

Plagens said part of the investigation would include scrutiny of the response time by emergency responders to the crash scene. Witnesses said that as long as five minutes passed between the crash and the first emergency crews to get to the wreckage of the plane flown by 77-year-old Eddie Andreini of Half Moon Bay.

Base spokesman Jim Spellman said crews were dispatched promptly and responded within a minute or two. A hotshot team from the base was among the responders, he said.

Andreini was flying his restored 1944 Stearman biplane in a maneuver called a “low-level inverted pass ribbon cutting,” in which a ribbon is stretched horizontally to the tarmac, a few feet off the ground, and is cut by a blade on the passing plane. Andreini’s plane, upside down, dropped out of the sky and hit the tarmac before reaching the ribbon, witnesses said.

Plagens told reporters during the 10-minute press conference that he was unaware of any indication of distress by Andreini to the control tower before the crash.

Plagens said it could be nine months or longer before the preliminary NTSB investigation report is completed.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. Reach Jess Sullivan at 427-6919 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jsullivandr.

Jess Sullivan

Jess has covered the criminal justice system in Solano County for several years. He was an embedded reporter in Iraq in 2003.

Discussion | 9 comments

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  • 2realMay 06, 2014 - 2:18 am

    Whats there to investigate, live by the gun die by the gun.

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  • perreynoidMay 06, 2014 - 5:06 am

    That blonde woman in the BDU's needs to get her hair up OFF her collar. How is she some sort of spokesperson, with her hair dangling on the edge of her collar? Cut it, or pull it up. SMDH.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • The MisterMay 06, 2014 - 6:28 am

    She's probably a "he" and no one in authority is going to risk saying anything that might upset "it's" feelings. Either that or our fighting forces just ain't what they used to be. Of course we knew that... it's not a military; it's a grand social experiment.

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  • hey dudeMay 06, 2014 - 10:00 pm

    Damn you all I was thinking she's very attractive If I was single I might be trying to date that beauty ...

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Danny BuntinMay 06, 2014 - 7:43 pm

    @perreynoid: Is that you Rich G?? Re-living the glory days.

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  • CD BrooksMay 06, 2014 - 7:17 am

    A man dies while performing his passion for flying. Some would say they'd like to go out that way, dong what they loved most. I have no idea how many people this man entertained over his career, but I imagine there are several of them among you. Why not let it be.

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  • rlw895May 06, 2014 - 7:57 am

    77 years old. You have a good point.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • JimMay 06, 2014 - 8:33 am

    The NTSB is investigating the cause of the accident? The cause of the accident is an elderly man flying inverted 3 feet above the ground in a 75 year old airplane! Case closed now save us some money elsewhere.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Lucy AugustsonMay 06, 2014 - 8:06 pm

    With all the ability to cover things up, it seems like they could have put a cover over this carcass to transport it!

    Reply | Report abusive comment
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