Hall of Fame Aerobatic pilot Eddie Andreini died during the "Thunder Over Solano" air show at Travis Air Force Base in May. There was a mishap during his routine, and his Stearman biplane slid to a stop on the runway. Eddie wasn’t hurt, but he was trapped in the plane. He radio’d for help.
The Air Force had told the performers that its fire trucks would be positioned and ready to respond to such an emergency within seconds. But for some reason, the trucks were nowhere to be found during Eddie’s routine. Instead of getting to Eddie in a minute or less, as they were supposed to, the trucks didn’t get to Eddie for nearly five minutes. By then, Eddie’s plane was engulfed in flames and it was too late. Eddie was gone.
Where were the firetrucks? What took them so long to get to Eddie? When the family asked the Air Force these questions, the Air Force closed ranks and went mum. So the family exercised its rights under the Freedom of Information Act. The family formally requested the Air Force to turn over to them the documents that would show why the Air Force fire trucks didn’t come to Eddie’s aid as it had promised, and instead let Eddie burn to death.
Under the law, the Air Force had 20 days to respond to the family’s request. We had hoped that, out of respect for the family, it would have turned over documents right away. But that was not to be. The family made its request to the Air Force four months ago. Yet the Air Force has yet to turn over to the family even a single piece of paper.
We’ve just filed suit against the Air Force for violating the Freedom of Information Act. We want to know:
- Does the Air Force believe it is above the law?
- Does the Air Force believe that the family has no right to know why Eddie died?
- What is the Air Force trying to hide from Eddie’s family and the public about it’s role in Eddie’s death?