Its not often you get to meet someone special...I mean really special. The news is being dominated today by the loss of Eddie Andreini, a stunt pilot who died in an air crash yesterday in Fairfield. It was a great loss of a great showman and a really great guy. I had a chance to meet him when our kite team was performing on the Air Show circuit and was brand new to the 'business'. As a senior and popular performer, he was one of our first supporters when we got started. You see, at first, we were unknowns and people could not see how kites related to the Air Shows...fortunately we are past that point and are considered pilots like everyone else on the ticket. Pilots and performers get together before the shows in receptions and other social events for the promoters. Eddie was always there with his big smile and warm greetings. The loud roar of his bi-plane was always a hit as was his amazing skills as a pilot.
I don't know if he was serious or kidding, but he once offered our smallest guy on the team named Barry a job as a wing walker on one of his planes. A wing walker is someone strapped to the open top of the bi-plane, arms spread, and then Eddie would fly upside down with the guy inverted near the ground. Needless to say, Barry never took him up on the job.
For your information, the air show performers are not crazy or reckless pilots. They are true professionals and are a close knit family who do regular shows together in the area. There is a prescribed window in which they perform and safety is the most important factor in everything they do. They are just really, really good pilots that can do things other people cannot.
Eddie died the way most of us would like or hope to die...doing something that you really enjoy most with all your heart.